Providing support in a time of crisis: An investigation into how Educational Psychologists in the UK respond to a death by suicide within the school community

Brennan, Laura (2021) Providing support in a time of crisis: An investigation into how Educational Psychologists in the UK respond to a death by suicide within the school community. Professional Doctorate thesis, Tavistock and Portman NHS Foundation Trust / University of Essex. Full text available

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Abstract

A key part of the Educational Psychologists role is to respond to school community critical incidents, including death by suicides. The number of suicides in young people under 25 years old is steadily increasing across the United Kingdom and many of those bereaved by a suicide will be in education. It is therefore an important issue to research to gain an understanding of EPs work in this area. The aim of this research was to investigate how EPs are responding to a school community death by suicide and their experience of this. The research used a mixed methods design combining a national survey, to gather an understanding of the scope of practice and experience of EPs, with semi-structured interviews to gather a more in-depth understanding of EPs experience in responding to this kind of incident. The survey received 76 responses from EPs and the researcher interviewed 5 of these. The survey data was analysed using descriptive statistics and the interview data was analysed using a Grounded Theory approach. The findings showed that the most common form of support EPs provide to schools is face to face consultations and support around the correct language to use when discussing suicide. The most common form of support EPs receive included co-working with a colleague and individual debriefs. The Grounded Theory analysis produced 15 axial codes leading to the overarching theory of ‘Containment Across and Within the System’. This study shows that there are multiple systems involved in responding to a death by suicide that the EPs provide containment to and receive containment from. Implications for practice and directions for future research are considered and discussed.

Item Type: Thesis (Professional Doctorate)
Additional Information: Thesis submitted in partial fulfilment of the Professional Doctorate in Child, Community and Educational Psychology awarded by the Tavistock and Portman NHS Foundation Trust in association with the University of Essex
Uncontrolled Keywords: Professional Doctorate in Child, Community and Educational Psychology, Edpsych Updates
Subjects: Disabilities & Disorders (mental & physical) > Suicide
Groups & Organisations > Groups/Institutions/Organisations
Groups & Organisations > Occupational Groups
Learning & Education > Educational Psychology
Learning & Education > Learning & Education in Psychology
Research, Tests, Assessments > Grounded Theory
Department/People: Children, Young Adult and Family Services
Research
URI: http://repository.tavistockandportman.ac.uk/id/eprint/2493

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