Why a separate guide for students?
Many schools, but not all, are familiar with the concept of postvention and have protocols in place for when the campus is affected by a student’s death. These policies and procedures, however, are primarily guided by the perspectives of campus staff, faculty, and administrators.
At Active Minds, we’ve seen a need for a student guide as well. Over the years, we’ve provided one-on-one advice for Active Minds chapters whose campuses have experienced a student death by suicide. This guide captures that guidance so it can be shared with as many campus entities as possible, including resident assistants, Greek life, and student government, as well as our full chapter network.
Including the voice and perspective of students makes perfect sense. Students compose the largest percentage of a campus population, and so can powerfully support their campus’s postvention plans, if there is one, or fill the gap if none exist. Student leaders are well positioned to engage the entire student body in a thoughtful and forward looking response.
Postvention is prevention
Because many students feel most comfortable speaking to peers about mental health, this guide includes effective and safe suggestions on how to encourage help seeking. It also includes recommendations and examples for communicating via the news media and social media. In many ways, “postvention is prevention,” and so the guide looks to the future, providing suggestions on how students can lead their communities toward healing and rebuilding after a tragedy, work to eliminate mental health stigma on their campuses, and engage in suicide prevention efforts.