Schools, Colleges, & universities

I’ve found that educational institutions tend to under-react, out of uncertainty and a fear of doing the “wrong thing.” After a suicide in a school, college, or university community, complex questions arise: 


  • What’s the best way to talk to young people about this frightening subject?  

  • Is suicide contagion real?  

  • Is it potentially risky to have a memorial on campus? 

  • What should we do with their desk, locker, or dorm room?

  • How should we handle graduation and the yearbook? 

  • Are antidepressants dangerous?  

  • Does bullying cause suicide?  


As the co-author of the original After a Suicide: A Toolkit for Schools, the free online resource used by hundreds of school  communities facing real-time crises, I offer evidence-informed guidance, concrete action steps, and reassurance. I’ve worked with public, private, and parochial educational institutions throughout the United States, from suburban high schools and rural middle schools to elite prep schools and boarding schools to large public universities, to help them address the questions, emotions, concerns, and fears that inevitably arise around suicide.


I’ve also been a featured presenter on suicide postvention in schools and colleges at the American Association of Suicidology, the California Suicide Prevention Network, the New York State School Boards Association, the Suicide Prevention Coalition of Colorado and Colorado Department of Public Health & Environment, and the Wyoming Department of Health.


I work with schools, colleges, and universities after a suicide loss in their community through:

  • consultation with senior administration 

  • training for faculty, administration, guidance departments, and other school personnel

  • educational discussion forums for parents and community members


I can help.  Contact me, and we'll take it from there.

“Your session was simply packed with invaluable information.”


“Thank you so much for your informative presentation this evening. I am a teacher in the district who is also a parent. We have lost far too many to suicide in our community. The information you shared is so valuable and important for all of us to have. I am grateful that you took the time to speak with us. We all left with important tools and insights.”


“Your presentation, insights, and advice were phenomenal! Thank you for the info, handouts, and extra time you put into the evening. Much appreciated.”


“As the district superintendent, I have heard Ms. Harpel present a consistent, compassionate, and meaningful message to different audiences. These presentations are grounded in research and a depth of experience. Further, she is always mindful of the sensitive and confusing nature of the topic - coping with suicide loss. Ms. Harpel is someone who should be sought by communities who are trying to make sense of a human tragedy that often defies understanding. “


“Thank you, Joanne, for answering our concerns and for all of the information you have given us to employ to help our children and their friends through the grieving process.”


“Thanks for everything! The parent and faculty feedback has been very positive. Thanks again for all of your help and guidance!”

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Coping After Suicide

45 w 54th street, suite 3c

New York, NY 10019



Coping After Suicide, LLC (and Joanne L. Harpel, MPhil, CT, JD, President) serve solely as a suicide bereavement and postvention advisor/coach and are not licensed mental health professionals. Advice provided is not intended to constitute therapy or mental health counseling, and shall not be so construed.  Responsibility for seeking psychological counseling and/or medical advice rests solely with the user. Coping After Suicide, LLC and Joanne L. Harpel, President, are not governed by the federal Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA).  


If at any time you are in crisis and/or feeling suicidal call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at  800-273-TALK or 911, text “HELP” to the Crisis Text Line at 741-741, or go the nearest emergency room.

© 2021 Coping After Suicide®.  All rights reserved.