Date of Award




Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Psychology (PsyD)


Department of Educational and Counseling Psychology


School Psychology

Content Description

1 online resource (xii, 106 pages) : illustrations

Dissertation/Thesis Chair

David Miller

Committee Members

Jason Northrup, Kevin Quinn


crisis, plan, postvention, protocol, school, suicide, Students, Suicide, Student assistance programs, Educational counseling, Counseling in secondary education, School crisis management

Subject Categories

Counseling Psychology | Student Counseling and Personnel Services


The purpose of this study was to generate a base of literature pertaining to school based suicide postvention plans. In order to do this, New York State crisis plans were examined to determine the proportion of plans that address suicide postvention as well as the extent to which postvention protocols are aligned with recommended practices. A coding scheme was developed in order to evaluate the comprehensiveness of the crisis plans and all New York State public schools serving at least two high school grades were invited to share their crisis plan as well as any other documents pertaining to response to suicide. The thirty-seven crisis plans (n=37) received represented 497 schools, or 44% of the total number of schools sampled. The presence of recommended postvention procedures were analyzed using descriptive statistics and frequencies including measures of central tendency and variability. Additionally, a one-way ANOVA was used to examine plan quality in relation to community type. Results revealed that 54% of New York State crisis plans specified crisis intervention following a suicide. Although additional crisis plans incorporated recommended practices without referring to suicide postvention, crisis plans that made specific mention of responding to suicide were significantly more comprehensive than those that did not. Using the coding scheme, the most commonly referred to essential components of suicide postvention included "mobilize the crisis team" and "determine how to share information," whereas the least referenced essential components were "establish memorial guidelines that acknowledge all deaths, regardless of the cause, in the same manner" and "evaluate the response." Additionally, the data collected found no significant differences in plan quality for community type (i.e., urban, suburban, town, rural). Findings suggest there may be an abundant need for training at the university level as well as for practitioners within the field on explicitly addressing suicide within crisis plans and the recommended components of suicide postvention protocols. Furthermore, considering that the current study is the first to examine the content of school suicide postvention plans, there is great opportunity to conduct future research.