8. Postvention

An effective postvention response is a critical component of school-based suicide prevention efforts.  In the event that a student dies by suicide, educators need to understand their role and response to other students in the school district.


Terri A. Erbacher, PhD; Clinical Associate Professor, Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine; Author of Suicide in Schools: A Practitioner’s Guide to Multi-level Prevention, Assessment, Intervention and Postvention

Matthew Wintersteen, PhD; Thomas Jefferson University; Executive Board, Prevent Suicide PA; Director, Pennsylvania Higher Education Suicide Prevention Coalition

Course Length: 30 minutes credit

Course Learning Objectives:

  1. Participants will be able to describe the components and rationale for a postvention response to a student death by suicide.
  2. Participants will be able to identify ways that students may express grief in the classroom and discuss how they can respond to student grief.
  3. Participants will be able to describe the importance of self-care in dealing with a student suicide.

Course Supplemental Material:

  1. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. (2012). Preventing suicide: A Toolkit for High Schools. (Note: Chapter 3 covers ‘After a Suicide’). Available here.
  2. American Foundation for Suicide Prevention and Suicide Prevention Resource Center (2011).  After a Suicide: A Toolkit for Schools.  Available here.
  3. Kerr, M.M., Brent, D.A., McKain, B., & McCommons, P.S. (2003). Postvention Standards Manual: A Guide for a School’s Response in the Aftermath of a Sudden Death. Available here.
  4. Facilitator Guide — COMING SOON!

Course Achievement: No certificate will be available for this class. Completion for this class will, however, show up on the user’s transcript.  Once users complete the entire course (8 classes), they will be able to print a certificate.