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Glossary of terms: suicide response and postvention guidelines

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This website sometimes talks about complicated or emotional information. Sometimes we use a specific term to make talking about it easier. The glossary explains some of these terms. If you can’t find the exact term you’re looking for or have questions, please contact your sector for help.



The Department for Education use the term ‘Aboriginal’ to refer to people who identify as Aboriginal, Torres Strait Islander, or both Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander. This term is preferred by Aboriginal South Australians and the department.

Source: Aboriginal Education strategy 2019 to 2029.


A process to help someone self-regulate through calming activity. It is a term used in psychology.
See suicide contagion.
A person who copies another person’s ideas, actions or behaviour.
critical incident review
A process that looks at how a school responded to a traumatic death. It examines what worked well and what needs to change or improve. Some people call this an operational debrief.

See emergency response team.

cultural protocols
The customs, lore and codes of behaviour of a particular cultural group. It also refers to the protocols and procedures used to guide the observance of traditional knowledge and practices.

Adapted from SNAICC: National Voice for our Children.


deliberate self-harm
An act where someone has deliberately physically hurt themselves. It is a negative coping strategy in response to distress.


emergency response team
A group of school staff who respond when there has been a traumatic death. The group is led by the site leader. Their work includes preparation and response.

See site leader. See also traumatic death.


gender diverse
A broad term that can refer to all forms of gender identity and gender expression. It includes people who may identify as for example trans, transgender, gender queer or gender questioning.


See phobia.


See suicidal ideation.


An acronym that is used to describe lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex and questioning/queer (plus other) people collectively.


The fear, intolerance, and/or discrimination of people who identify as:
  • Intersex (interphobia)
  • Same-sex attracted (homophobia)
  • Transgender, gender diverse or gender nonconforming (transphobia)
  • Bisexual (biphobia).

These attitudes can be linked with hostility, verbal and physical abuse, prejudice or discrimination.


See suicide postvention.

postvention plan
A set of specific details about how to support a school community bereaved by a traumatic death. It is developed by the site leader and emergency response team. It helps with recovery. It prevents negative outcomes including, but not limited to, suicidal behaviour.

See also site leader and emergency response team.


school counsellor

A counsellor who is employed by an Independent or Catholic school.

See student wellbeing leader.

sector office

The central or lead team for a specific education group in South Australia.

For Government schools, this is the Department for Education.
For Catholic schools, this is Catholic Education South Australia.
For Independent schools, this is the Association of Independent Schools of South Australia.

Sector office contact details.

See deliberate self-harm.
site leader
A school principal or preschool director. They run the site (school or preschool).
A child or young person enrolled at an education site. This includes high school, school or preschool.
student wellbeing leader
An educator who is employed to support student mental health and wellbeing in a Department for Education school.

See school counsellor.

When someone has ended their own life.
suicidal ideation
Passive thoughts about wanting to be dead or active thoughts about killing oneself. It does not include preparing to act on the thoughts. Some people call this suicide ideation.
suicide contagion
A process where one suicide or suicidal act at a school makes it more likely that others attempt to die by suicide. Some people just say ‘contagion’.
suicide postvention
An organised response after a death by suicide.


traumatic death
A death that is sudden, unexpected or violent. How the person died is not always what makes their death traumatic. Survivors often have intense feelings. Commonly, it is when someone takes their own life.


Many of these definitions were adapted from information by mental health experts. Some of the sources adapted include: