Lifelines postvention: Responding to suicide and other traumatic death


(For resources, this is the publication date. For programs, this is the date posted.)


Underwood, Maureen; Fell, Fred T.; Spinazzola, Nicci and the Society for the Prevention of Teen Suicide
Hazelden Publishing

See This Resource

Lifelines postvention: Responding to suicide and other traumatic death is a 170-page manual with accompanying CD that provides a template for creating a school-based response to the death of a member of the school community by suicide or other traumatic means. The manual emphasizes the critical, but limited, role of the school in managing the effects of the death with a response that uses school resources, augmented by community support when necessary. The Lifelines postvention manual contains the following eight chapters:

  • The Place to Begin: Defining the Problem, Identifying the Needs
  • Starting at the Top: Administrative Frame of Reference
  • The Key Players: The Crisis Response Team
  • The Front Line: Faculty and Staff
  • Bad News Travels Fast: Student Needs
  • Concerned Parents: Helping Parents Help Their Kids
  • Community Partners: You Are Not Alone
  • Some Other Things to Think About

Lifelines postvention is based on the principles of crisis intervention and grief theory. It translates mental health concepts and research into practical action steps consistent with the culture and resources inherent in the school setting.

Users of the manual will have the knowledge to:
1. Develop policies and procedures related to student suicide risk and responding to a suicide death.
2. Identify and train a school crisis team.
3. Develop connections with appropriate community resources.
4. Respond immediately if there is a death in the school community.

Implementation Essential
• While the manual can be used as a stand-alone resource for responding to a traumatic death, proactive coordination with appropriate school and community officials will enhance its utility.

2012 NSSP Objectives Addressed: 

Objective 10.4: Adopt, disseminate, implement, and evaluate guidelines for communities to respond effectively to suicide clusters and contagion within their cultural context, and support implementation with education, training, and consultation.