After a Suicide: A Toolkit for Schools | 8 Share the News with the School Community The principal or Crisis Response Team coordinator should use care in sharing the information about the death with staff and parents in the school community. This communication should be done separately from communications with students. Also, what is said publicly may be limited to some degree by the family’s wishes, and it is important to distinguish what might be said in a public meeting (e.g., with parents) versus a meeting of necessary school staff (e.g., teachers who taught the deceased student). In any communication about suicide, it is important to follow guidelines on safe messaging about suicide. It is particularly important to avoid idealizing the person and glorifying suicide. Talk about the person in a balanced manner. Do not be afraid to include the struggles that were known, especially in individual conversations about the death. If the student’s struggles are not mentioned, it may cause confusion as well as give the impression that suicide is an effective way of addressing one’s distress—especially among the other students. For more suggestions on how to talk about suicide, see the tool Tips for Talking about Suicide. Address Cultural Diversity Postvention efforts need to take into consideration the cultural diversity of everyone affected by a suicide, including the family, school, and community. This diversity may include differences in race, ethnicity, language, religion, sexual orientation, and disability. Culture may significantly affect the way people view and respond to suicide and death. Key points involving cultural differences include the following: • • Be aware that the extent to which people are able to talk about suicide varies greatly, and in some cultures suicide is still seen as a moral failing. • • Be sensitive to the beliefs and customs regarding the family and community, including rituals, funerals, the appropriate person to contact, etc. • • Be sensitive to how the family or community may need to respond to the death before individuals outside of the family or community intervene to provide support. • • Engage a “cultural broker” to act as a liaison between the family, community, and school if key members of school staff are not from the same racial, ethnic, or religious group as the person who died by suicide. • • Bring in interpreters and translators if there are language differences. If possible, have resource materials in different languages available for parents. Activities for Responding to a Crisis Crisis Response Team Coordinator’s Tasks • • Inform the principal (if not already notified or designated as team coordinator) and school superintendent of the death. • • Contact the deceased’s family to: o o Offer condolences o o Inquire as to what the school can do to assist o o Ask them to identify the student’s friends who may need assistance