Chapter 4: After a student’s death from suicide

Informing students

What the grief expert says
Lysa Toye, social worker, psychotherapist, talks informing students about a death from suicide.(3:22)Video transcript

“I couldn’t believe it. He asked me if we could hang out on Friday and I said no, I was busy that night. I didn’t know. I would’ve invited him to come out to my dads with me. I feel so guilty. I didn’t know”. -Student

There is often a concern that talking about suicide will increase the risk of suicide for other students. In fact, having the opportunity to have honest discussions about suicide with students can be helpful. The focus of these conversations should be on healthy ways of coping and on available resources for students and peers, related to grief and other struggles they may be experiencing. 

While many students may have already learned about the death through social media and word of mouth, their information may not be accurate. Discussing suicide as the cause of death sets the tone for openness and honesty. It also minimizes rumours. 

There are some general guidelines that are important to keep in mind when informing students of a death from suicide. 

Click on the arrows to view each one.

See also:After a Suicide: A Toolkit for Schools (2nd Ed.)