Crisis or Traumatic Event

General Overview - Crisis or Traumatic Event

A school crisis is a traumatic event that disrupts the normal functioning of students and staff, thereby requiring immediate response and support. Examples of crises include: bereavement caused by the death of a loved one or community member, a catastrophic environmental event, or a threat to physical safety.

Helping your Child Cope

One of the difficulties that parents experience during crises is that they have not had adequate time to deal with their own reactions when they are called upon to help their child. Here are some of the things you can do to help your child deal with the impact of a crisis:

  • encourage your child to express their feelings through talking, drawing, and playing
  • be attentive and encourage your child to ask questions
  • offer support as your child interprets the events
  • find out what your child may be thinking and feeling in reaction to the traumatic event
  • be direct and give honest information
  • reassure your child that you will do everything possible to ensure their safety and that other adult authority figures (elected officials, school officials, the police) will do the same
  • do not flood your child with too many television images of the tragic event
  • acknowledge normal feelings and reactions
  • encourage healthy ways to cope

The resources below can support you and your family through a crisis. Every school is required to have a Crisis Team. If additional support is needed, you may contact your child’s counselor and/or the crisis team at your child’s school.

Crisis Support Referrals and Resources

  • 988 is New York City’s free, confidential support, crisis intervention, and information and referral service for anyone seeking help for mental health and/or substance misuse concerns, available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year.
  • Crisis Text Line connects you with a trained crisis counselor for free 24/7. Text HOME to 741-741.
  • Health Information Tools for Empowerment (HITE) is a resource for medical, mental health and related services in New York.
  • Communilife services include "Life is Precious," a Latina Suicide Prevention Program, and the VIDA Guidance Center.
  • NYC Teenspace offers free mental health support with a licensed therapist to any teenager ages 13 to 17 living in New York City.
  • The Trevor Project provides 24/7 crisis support services to LGBTQ young people. Text (678-678), chat or call (1-866-488-7386) anytime to reach a trained counselor.
  • The Samaritans of New York offers a Suicide Prevention Hotline, which can be reached at 212-673-3000, 24 hours/7 days.

Natural Disasters

Shootings and Violent Tragedies in the News



Suicide Awareness and Prevention

NYC Public School-Based Efforts:

  • In accordance with Chancellor’s Regulation A-755, NYC Public Schools are required to designate a full-time staff member from the school’s crisis team to serve as a Suicide Prevention Liaison.
  • In addition, the Suicide Liaison Poster identifies the school's Suicide Prevention Liaison and highlights resources to hep recognize signs and symptoms, reduce stigma, and where to go for help (including the new national suicide and crisis lifeline, 988). 

Know the Facts - Recognizing the Warning Signs of Suicide

Are you concerned that someone you know may be at risk for suicide? Your first step in helping may be as simple as learning FACTS or the warning signs of suicide. The following signs may mean that someone is at risk for suicide.

  • Feelings: Expressing hopelessness about the future.
  • Actions: Displaying severe/overwhelming pain or distress.
  • Changes: Showing worrisome behavioral cues or marked changes in behavior. Threats: Talking about, writing about, or making plans for suicide.
  • Situations: Experiencing stressful situations such as loss, change, personal humiliation, trouble at home, in school, or with the law.


If you or anyone you know are experiencing any of these warning signs, please reach out to your child’s school suicide liaison, school counselor, or school administrator.

External Agencies/Resources: