After a Suicide: A Toolkit for Schools | 22 • • Creating a public awareness campaign or website to: o o Educate the community about mental health disorders, substance abuse, and other high-risk behaviors o o Decrease negative associations with mental health disorders and help-seeking o o Increase help-seeking Note: See Framework for Successful Messaging for examples of safe messaging. • • Creating public service campaigns to educate the community about suicide risk factors, warning signs, and local resources for those at risk • • Identifying ways to reach at-risk youth who are not in the education system, such as recent graduates, dropouts, or those in the juvenile justice system • • Identifying and implementing ways to reduce access to lethal means • • Exploring eligibility for additional sources of funding, such as a U.S. Department of Education School Emergency Response to Violence (SERV) grant, awarded to school districts that have experienced a traumatic event and need additional resources to respond Vignette B is an example of how community partners in a regional network may work together when a suicide occurs. Vignette B: Networking throughout a State In one state, a system of regional public health networks supports good communication among health care providers, first responders, and behavioral health services. Many providers who are active members in this network received training in postvention that included protocols and strategic planning. When a young man died by suicide shortly after graduating from high school, staff in the network’s member organizations drew on the protocols they had learned. One of the trainers had ties to the young man’s family and helped them connect immediately with loss survivor support services. As a result, within days, family members were receiving individual support, and later in the month, several family members were attending loss survivor support groups. School personnel who knew he had a girlfriend in another school district contacted the school counselor there to extend resources and supports. Throughout the week and into the weekend, members of the network circulated an e-mail loop with resources and protocols, identifying who was available as a contact for resources and/or support. They also alerted first responders and the regional mental health emergency services team to the possibility of related incidents and had a spokesperson available for media inquiries. Postvention guidelines and sample notices, as well as resources for loss survivors, were sent to the counselors in the young man’s high school and athletic groups. One of the counselors used the information to make changes in a program that would have memorialized the student in an unsafe way. Another counselor worked with youth to organize a fundraiser to support suicide prevention efforts in their region. Even without a formal network, such as the one described here, organizations and schools can develop collaborative relationships and receive training so that they are prepared if a suicide occurs. For more resources on working with the community, see Appendix B: Additional Resources.