19 Children, Teens and Suicide Loss Managing the Return to School When should my child go back to school? For some children, returning to a familiar routine as quickly as possible is comforting. For others, it can be helpful to take some time away, whether it is going on a family vacation, spending time with other relatives, or being outdoors. Talk with your child and ask when they feel ready to go back. If they express hesitation about returning, help them sort through their specific worries. Come up with a plan to comfortably transition back into school. Discussing with them what to say and how to handle questions and responses from their classmates may give them some confidence. How do I work with the school in supporting my child? What information should I share with the school staff? Talking with the staff at your child’s school can help ease the transition back to the classroom. Those who work directly with your child can become part of their support system. It’s good to keep in mind that attempts to keep the death a secret usually don’t work, and rumors may be more hurtful than the truth. Talking openly about the death, and coaching your child or teen on how to respond to questions from peers and adults can help reduce the secrecy and shame sometimes associated with suicide. If your child doesn’t want to tell people at school what happened, it is still wise to let their teachers and the school counselor know they may need additional support. Bear in mind that not all school personnel may be as understanding of this difficult subject as one might hope. Encourage them to recognize the child’s loss, but to refrain from identifying the child solely in terms of the loss. It may also be helpful to point school administrators to additional resources such as AFSP’s After a Suicide: A Toolkit for Schools: afsp.org/AfterASuicideToolkit.