If there is an emergency, call 911 or go to the hospital.

Postvention Toolkit: Pre-Crisis Planning

Postvention planning should be done in advance. It should be specific enough to be useful, while flexible enough to apply to different circumstances.

Pre-Crisis Planning

This pre-crisis planning is important because in the aftermath of a suicide, when emotions and tensions are high, it is very difficult to respond without having guidelines or plans in place.

Having said this, it is important to identify individuals responsible for postvention planning and implementation BEFORE a suicide occurs.

Various departments, different employees and community organizations will be responsible for deploying aspects of the postvention plan. Postvention planning should emphasize the importance of interagency communication and coordination.

Questions to consider in developing your postvention plan include:

  • Who should be in the organization’s emergency response team? Who can make decisions in the moment? Who can make time at a moment’s notice to participate?
  • What training would be needed in order to be successful in this role? Where can we access this training?
  • What information do the various aspects of your organization need to know about our postvention plan in advance? What is the best way to share information?
  • How do you hear about and track suicides?
  • What support resources do you have?
  • How might they be coordinated as part of a unified response?
  • What postvention protocols are you currently using? For example: Do you have a media communication strategy that you use in the event of a suicide? Do you have a protocol for identifying at-risk students after a suicide?
  • What are some practical considerations to address? For example, for residential services, who packs up a deceased person’s room?
  • Check-in with your staff about how the current response to student death/suicide is working through a review process. Where were the gaps? What were the challenges?

Training needs:

  • Crisis or suicide crisis
  • Bereavement
  • Stress

See the video below to learn more about how to assemble your postvention team. 


Crisis Lines & Referrals

Youth Services Bureau (YSB)
For caregivers and youth under 18.

For post-secondary students.

Distress Centre
For all ages.

Kids Help Phone
For young people.

Post Suicide Support

Post Suicide Support Team (PSST)
For group sessions for non-family after a suicide.

Support for Caregivers & Adults Impacted by the Death

Bereaved Families of Ontario Ottawa Peer support groups offer safe and supportive spaces to be in grief, to share and to learn. www.bfo-ottawa.org/about-us/contact 613-567-4278

Parents’ Lifeline of Eastern Ontario (PLEO)
Bilingual, confidential, helpline for caregivers of children, youth and young adults.

The Walk-in Counselling Clinic
No referral is required. Ontario residents within the Champlain LHIN will be assisted, with no appointment, on a first-come, first-serve basis during the clinic hours.

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