THE 7 P’s OF SUICIDE PREVENTION

3.0 District and School Crisis Teams/ Crisis Response Teams

Overview

Crisis teams play a crucial role in the suicide prevention process. Crisis teams should be multidisciplinary, and should be in place to help prevent and respond to suicidal incidents. They should include school personnel, as well as community partners that would assist in prevention, intervention, and postvention. While all crisis team members may not be part of the workgroup, all crisis team members should be able to view new procedures and be aware of any changes and/or developments to a crisis protocol. It may be a good idea to make the crisis team apart of the review process for what the workgroup develops. Crisis teams can be district- and/ or school-based. Some possible members that are recommended to have on this team include*:

  • Campus behavioral coordinators - This team member may not be exclusive to the person serving in the role (i.e. may be an administrator, school counselor, etc.).
  • Educators (regular classes, ancillary, special education, coaches, etc.) - This person is the “frontlines” in the school. Aside from students, this is the school professional that will most likely hear about a potential suicide first.
  • Emergency managers - This team member assists with developing procedures to prevent, intervene, and recover from school crises. They can also help make modifications to plans and implement them into required emergency operations plans (EOPs). They may also be in charge of developing and implementing other crisis procedures that may be co-occurring with a suicidal incident.
  • First Responders - They will be vital in the response process of a suicidal crisis, especially if one happens on-campus.
  • Media personnel/spokespersons - These persons will be the ones to relay a suicidal incident to the outside community. Since they will be reporting on a death by suicide or even attempt, it is important that they know what is safe and unsafe to share to the public.
  • Mental health professional (Licensed professional counselors, psychologists, social workers, etc.) - This team member will be the person to assess suicide risk, provide intervention to a suicidal student, and coordinate a treatment plan. They may also provide assistance to other affected or bereaved members in the school community.
  • Parents - This will give your team a parent perspective. It will also help in developing notification methods for parents during a crisis.
  • School administrator - This member will be aware of procedures that are implemented and what policies need to be followed. They most likely will be the lead for keeping order in the school community during a suicidal crisis.
  • School and/or academic counselor (not a mental health professional) - This member may be a referral source or confidant for potentially suicidal students. They may also be the main referral person in suicidal incident for potentially suicidal students, as well as students that may be directly and indirectly affected by a suicidal crisis.
  • School nurse - This member not only can provide medical assistance during a suicidal crisis, but also provide medical terminology, procedures, and other information to the team.
  • School-based law enforcement/ School resource officers - This member will be one of the first members to respond to a suicidal incident on-campus. This person will be able to provide input on the role of law enforcement during a suicidal crisis.
  • Students - This member will give a student’s perspective, as well as increase involvement of students in the school’s suicide prevention efforts. They will be able to provide appealing ways in which other students can get involved and what components of your efforts that students will be more receptive too.
  • Support staff personnel (front office, cafeteria, janitorial, etc.) - Since suicide can happen before and after school, which may include support staff identifying or witnessing a suicidal incident, it is important to have support staff input included and them aware of ways to safely intervene.

*Members are listed in alphabetical order and not ranked by order of importance

    Facilitated Discussion Instructions
  1. Review and access the recommended and additional resources for this section (listed below).
  2. Complete the section Worksheet:

Worksheet 8: Members of the Crisis Team/Crisis Response Team

Resources to Help with Explaining and Forming Crisis Teams

Click the link below to search for your LMHA.
Local Mental Health Authorities (LMHAs)

Pg. 5, Section “Best Practice: Suicide Prevention Task Force” of The Model School District Policy on Suicide Prevention provides best-practice recommendations for crisis teams.
Model School District Policy

Tools 1.B & 1.C in “Preventing Suicide: A Toolkit for High Schools” provide charts for staff and community partners that are beneficial to have crisis teams, as well as tracking designated responsibilities.
A Toolkit for Schools

“School Crisis Teams Roles/Responsibilities” gives an example from the Incident Command System (ICS) on roles and responsibilities that can be given.
Roles/Responsibilities

Tools 7 & 8 in the “Texas Suicide Safer Schools Implementation Guide and Tools” outline requirements of leadership, crisis teams, and school personnel.
TxSSS Implementation Guide - (Appendices)

The resource below describes what role mental health professionals play in suicide prevention.
The Role of Mental Health Providers

Click the download below to learn what role law enforcement plays in suicide prevention.
The Role of Law Enforcement

The link below, for “Preventing Suicide: Guidelines for Administrators and Crisis Teams”, provides guidelines for assembling crisis teams and what members can do to prevent a suicide.
Preventing Suicide: Guidelines