Our guidance aims to support a school in supporting grief and minimising the risk of further suicide.

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Download our Step by Step guidance

Samaritans has offered the Step by Step service to schools in the UK since 2010. We are available to offer practical support and advice to schools that have been affected by an attempted or suspected suicide.

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Responding to a suspected suicide

It can take many months for an inquest (or fatal accident inquiry in Scotland) to be held and in many cases unexplained deaths are not given a verdict of suicide.

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Responding to attempted suicide

Young people may return to school following a suicide attempt, and schools should not underestimate the impact of this on other students.

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Breaking the news

Taking steps to effectively communicate the news of a suicide can make a huge difference to the impact on the school community.

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Creating a response plan

Although a school can be affected by many challenging incidents, including sickness and accidental death, it is suicide that presents the unique risk of potentially being the trigger for further suicide attempts.

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Handling the media

In the aftermath of a suspected suicide in a school, dealing with the media can add to what is an already stressful situation.

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Funerals

A suspected suicide in a school is a very sad and traumatic event for everyone in the school community. Here's some guidance on how to manage funerals and their attendance.

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Identifying and supporting vulnerable students

Suicide is a complex issue, usually with no single cause and it’s therefore not possible to generalise. However, there is some evidence to suggest that people who have previously experienced bereavement by suicide may be more vulnerable.

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Memorials

It’s natural to want to pay tribute to those who have died. Here's some guidance on managing a memorial following a suspected suicide.

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Contacting the school community

If a suspected suicide has affected the school community, you'll need to consider how to inform them. Our service can help with this, helping you to draft appropriate communications.

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Having difficult conversations with students

If you’re worried about a young person, Samaritans has some tips on how to try to get them to talk to you.