School Psychologists’ Experiences in Suicide Postvention

September 25, 2020
News Type:  Weekly Spark, Weekly Spark Research

Formal training in suicide postvention through ongoing professional development and graduate training may improve the perceived knowledge and competence of school psychologists in providing a postvention response.

Seventeen percent of school psychologists employed by a public school system in North Carolina during the 2016–2017 academic year responded to a survey on postvention experience, training, and perceived knowledge and competency. Forty percent of participants reported having formal training in postvention response, and just over 40 percent reported having at least one experience conducting a postvention response. Only 5.4% reported feeling “very knowledgeable” about postvention and only 1.8 percent reported feeling “very knowledgeable” about suicide contagion effects. Few participants (9.9%) reported feeling “very prepared” to provide a postvention response. Formal training in postvention significantly impacted providers’ knowledge and competency in employing a postvention response. The presence of a postvention protocol did not improve providers’ perceived knowledge or competency.

For school psychologists to feel confident and knowledgeable about postvention, additional early-career and ongoing professional development training opportunities are needed.

O’Neill, J. C., Marraccini, M. E., Bledsoe, S. E., Knotek, S. E., & Tabori, A. V. (2020). Suicide postvention practices in schools: School psychologists’ experiences, training, and knowledge. School Psychology, 35(1), 61–71.