What should you pack in a counselor crisis bucket for your school counseling program? Be able to respond on a dime to suicide, death, or other crisis with ideas for protocol. I hate that I even have to have a counselor crisis bucket. But when I saw Simply Imperfect Counselor’s post on Instagram and her blog of her “Grief Tub,” I knew I needed one on my shelf a long time ago.
Since I’ve been at my school, I have encountered too many student deaths. (ANY is too many- let’s be real.) Unfortunately and fortunately, we have a pretty solid crisis plan that works well for us at our school.
Counselor Crisis Bucket Contents:
- 2 boxes of tissues
- a few sweet and salty snacks
- 2 packs colorful Papermate Flair pens
- The crisis plan for our school printed out, so any school counselor can take the lead on the day if needed
How to Use the Counselor Crisis Bucket
1 and 2- Self-explanatory. We have these wherever we are doing grief counseling. We also grab some bottles of water or a pitcher and fill it with water and have cups in the room where we station ourselves. When we huddle with our team, we decide where we are going to be stationed for the day to welcome students to talk. When students walk in, we have them sign a sheet with their names saying they were there. This way, we can follow back up with individual counseling or know names to invite to a grief small group if necessary.
3- Our school librarian prints a giant poster for the student who has died saying the student’s name at the top. Sometimes it has a yearbook picture of the student if that is available. We make this poster available in our lobby, in our conference room, or in a secluded room where we are doing more intense grief counseling. Students use the nice, Papermate flair pens from the Counselor Crisis Bucket to sign the poster. We also use these pens for students to write letters to the family or their friends if they want. When an administrator or counselor visits the family or attend the funeral, we bring this with us.
4- My counselor crisis plan includes what to do if you are notified of a student death OUTSIDE of the school day and a second for what to do if you are notified of a student death DURING the school day. Your school may choose to do things differently, or you may already have a great plan in place… this is just what seems to work for us.
Additionally, be sure to snag my Grief Conversation Kites from my TpT store. This is a great tool with PDF printables containing 18 questions that students pull and ask in a group or individual setting to discuss grief. You can use these in a grief group for students grieving the death of a classmate, a loved one, or family member. It is also helpful for students with incarcerated parents. The conversation starters work well for individual counseling, helping a student to read aloud and process their feelings about grief. Consider adding these to your Counselor Crisis Bucket.
And because I’m your official school counselor hype girl and I know you already have so much on your plates, I went ahead and jumpstarted your counselor crisis bucket with this resource on my TpT store.
The Crisis Bucket for School Counselors is a PDF bundle to use to put together an office staple for times of need. It includes 5 pages: 2 pages of what to do when your school is notified of a student death OUTSIDE of school hours, 2 pages of what to do when your school is notified of a student death DURING school hours, and a 1 page printable to add to the top of a plastic bucket for your own Crisis Bucket. I also bundled this with the conversation kites if you’d like to go ahead and snag both resources at a discount!
CLICK HERE to download my school’s crisis plan along with the printable you see on the top of my bucket. Plus, here is more information on how my team has built up our grief counseling program at my school.