2.3 Protocols


The third P is for Protocols. Protocols refer to the actions that will be taken during an in-school suicidal crisis. Suicidal crises include a potential suicide, suicide attempt, or someone dying by suicide. Protocols should clearly outline the steps that need to be taken during and after a suicidal crisis. School administration and staff should be trained to identify and respond to high-risk students. Having protocols, roles, and responsibilities already defined for leadership and staff members can prevent a suicidal crisis from escalating and causing more harm to others in the school community.

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

Worksheet 3: Protocols

Recommended Resources for Discussing ‘Protocols’

“Dealing with Suicide in Schools: Prevention, Intervention and Postvention” serves as a model protocol to follow. Page 9 begins the 2 sections on intervention procedures.
Dealing with Suicide in Schools

This resource includes prevention and intervention protocols to model.
Maine Youth Suicide Prevention Program

In the following download, refer to sections “In-School Suicide Attempts”, “Re-Entry Procedure”, Out-of-School Suicide Attempts”, and “Parental Notification and Involvement”
Model School District Policy

“Death - Suicide - Critical Incident: Crisis Response Procedures For Principals and Students Services Staff” provides an example of protocols to be followed during a suicidal incident.
Crisis Response Procedures

This section of “Texas Suicide Safer Schools Implementation Guide and Tools” outlines protocols for assessing levels of student risk and procedures for notifying parents for students at-risk.
TxSSS Implementation Guide - Pt. 3

This section of “Texas Suicide Safer Schools Implementation Guide and Tools” outlines protocols for re-entry and postvention processes after a suicide.
TxSSS Implementation Guide - Pt. 4

Appendix II of “Texas Suicide Safer Schools Implementation Guide and Tools” provides a Sample District Prevention Plan.
TxSSS Implementation Guide - (Appendices)

    Additional Resources to Help with ‘Protocols’

  • In “Preventing Suicide: A Toolkit for High Schools”, chapter 2 outlines protocols for helping students at risk of suicide.
    A Toolkit for High Schools
  • “Responding to a Crisis at a School” provides a strategic guide for responding to crises.
    Responding to a Crisis
  • “Screening/Assessing Students: Indicators and Tools” provides guidelines and tools for adolescent mental health assessments. Section II includes examples of risk and crisis screening.
    Screening/Assessing Students
  • In the following link to the “Youth Suicide Prevention School-Based Guide” refer to Issue Briefs 6a-6c and Checklists 6 & 7 cover intervention strategies and responding to a death by suicide.
    Youth School-Based Guide