The “Forgotten Grievers”: The Impact of Pupil Suicide on Post-Trauma and Grief Symptoms in School Staff

Noa Tiech Fire, Yari Gvion, Sarit Alkalay, Gil Zalsman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Highlights: Following a suicide of a pupil principals and home-room teachers suffer more from complicated grief and PTSD compared to psychologists and counsellors. Principals and home-room teachers should receive more preparatory training. Background: The suicide of a pupil impacts survivors greatly, but most studies on the subject do not consider school staff, and do not differentiate between the various professional domains. Our aim was to investigate the existence of differences in symptoms of complicated grief as well as post-trauma symptoms after a pupil’s suicide, among school staff in four domains: counsellors, psychologists, principals and home-room teachers. Method: Eighty-four staff members from schools that lost pupils to suicide within the past five years were assessed for symptoms of complicated grief and trauma. All reported their symptoms using self-report scales. Results: Principals and home-room teachers had significantly higher complicated grief and post-trauma symptoms. The main limitations of this study are that the data were collected via self-report questionnaires, which can introduce bias. Additionally, the sample is relatively small and comprises mainly women. Conclusions: School professionals in domains receiving less coping and crisis training, and those with supervisory responsibilities (principals and home-room teachers) show more symptoms of trauma and complicated grief after a pupil’s suicide, and require special attention. More preparatory training would surely benefit them and assist them in coping with such crises.

Original languageEnglish
Article number12160
JournalInternational Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
Issue number19
StatePublished - 26 Sep 2022

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  • grief
  • school staff
  • suicide
  • trauma


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