Schools and trauma

Trauma, loss and grief experiences of children and youth are relevant to all the members of school communities – principals and teachers, counsellors and support workers, students and their families.

On the web pages for the Schools and Trauma hub of ACATLGN, you will find resources that have been brought together by experts in this field to support schools and staff in working with children experiencing grief, loss and trauma. We have included organisations that are primarily child and adolescent-focused or focused on school mental health.

Resources for practitioners

Helping schools deal with trauma

This resource was developed with Kidsmatter discusses ways to support school staff in helping trauma-affected students and their families.

Resilience and self care for principals and teachers

 85.33 KB pdf

This document by Professor Beverley Raphael discusses the impact of disasters on school principals and teachers and why self care is so important.

School communities: Guiding principles

 154.32 KB pdf

This resource lists 11 principles on how schools can provide a safe and protective environment to support students who are affected by or are experiencing adversity.

School principals: Disaster strategies and resources

 2.06 MB pdf

This document by Professor Beverley Raphael gives school Principals an outline of how they can lead their school during times of disaster and other traumatic events.

School recovery toolkit

 564.78 KB pdf

This resource for teachers details the impact that trauma may have on teachers and children, how this may present in the classroom and what teachers and schools can do to offer support following disasters and traumatic events.

Trauma, Loss & Grief Resources - for use by school counsellors and other mental health professionals working in schools

 139.23 KB pdf

This list comprises resources that have been used by Michelle Roberts over many years as a psychologist and teacher working in education. It includes sections on manuals and workbooks, picture story books, critical incident management in schools and texts for school based personnel.

Resources for families and carers

Families facing tough times: tips for talking to your child’s school

 561.95 KB pdf

At some stage, most families will experience tough times. It is a normal part of life, but some experiences that families face can be harder for children to cope with than others. 

Helping your child when they are changing schools

 619.72 KB pdf

All kids face challenging times at some stage during their life and most children will need to change school at some time. The transition may be planned and part of the normal transitions children make, from moving to primary school and moving from primary school on to high school. The transition may also be brought about by changes in life circumstances that are unrelated to the normal transitions of a child’s life. Unplanned change is usually more stressful than planned change. 

Supporting your child when they start school

 534.7 KB pdf

Starting school is a critical period in the development of almost all children. Making the successful transition to school requires your child to have a range of emotional, physical and social skills as well as intellectual and language skills that allow them to understand expectations and interact with a range of people. Mums, dads and other carers play an essential role in helping to prepare your child for a happy and positive transition to the life of a school child.

Other resources

Calmer classrooms: A guide to working with traumatised children

 248.73 KB pdf

Child Safety Commissioner, VIC
Assists professionals within schools in understanding and working with children and young people whose lives have been affected by trauma, primarily through abuse and neglect.

Child trauma toolkit for educators

 3.5 MB pdf

National Child Traumatic Stress Network, US
Tools and materials developed to help educators understand and respond to the specific needs of traumatised children.

Child trauma – for teachers

School of Medicine, University of Queensland
These teacher training resources have been developed to assist teachers to respond appropriately to children who have experienced traumatic events. This resource package includes a teacher guide, tip sheets and links to a series of free training videos.

Children and loss

The Child Trauma Academy, US
An article specifically for teachers on their role in assisting the grieving child in the classroom.

Community trauma toolkit: Return to school support for educators

In this one-hour video presentation, Clinical Psychologist Nicola Palfrey from the Australian National University’s Australian Child and Adolescent Trauma, Loss and Grief Network discusses how educators can help support students who may be impacted by the difficult bushfire season. This video gives practical advice and strategies for those working in an education setting for the days and weeks following a disaster such as a bushfire.

Connecting with families e-learning course

This interactive course for school professionals aims to build on skills useful for connecting with families. A certificate is awarded after completion of each module.

Early intervention for students experiencing mental health difficulties

A series of information sheets for families and school staff which focus on early intervention for students experiencing mental health difficulties, such as anxiety and behaviour difficulties.

Helping children and teens cope with traumatic events and death: The role of school health professionals

Child Study Center, New York University, US
Brief information on helping children to cope, recognising children and young people who are not coping and how to intervene appropriately.

Helping traumatized children learn

Trauma and Learning Policy Initiative, US
Free to download publications written by an interdisciplinary team. It discusses impact trauma has on child learning and behaviour in school and how schools can create a trauma-sensitive environment (vol 1), and a guide to achieve this goal (vol 2).

Loss and Grief

This booklet provides an overview of school practices relevant to dealing with death and loss within the school, including a sequence of lessons for junior, middle and senior secondary school students.

Responding to crisis at a school

 871.64 KB pdf

School Mental Health Project, University of California Los Angeles, US
A detailed resource aid that provides guides and handouts for crisis planning, training staff and school-based crisis teams. Contains handouts for staff, students and parents.

Schools information pack

Winstons Wish, UK
A package of information that can be accessed quickly by teachers. Includes advice on how to talk to a student about bereavement as well as some information on behaviours that may be seen in a bereaved child.

Starting school: A pivotal life transition for children and their families

Australian Institute of Family Studies, Family Matters No. 90, 2012
This article discusses the process and impact for children and families during the transition to school. 

Support for students exposed to trauma: The SSET program

This manual contains a series of ten lessons designed to be implemented by teachers or counselors in small groups of middle school students with the aim of reducing distress resulting from exposure to trauma.

What’s the Plan Stan

Ministry of Civil Defence and Emergency Management, NZ
What’s the Plan Stan is an initiative which aims to support teachers to develop their students' knowledge, skills and attitudes to respond to and prepare for an emergency.


Early Childhood Australia

This organisation specifically focuses on children from birth to 8 years. The site has resources and information about grief, loss and trauma for children.

Good Grief & Seasons for Growth

Good Grief & Seasons for Growth provides training to schools for supporting children experiencing loss and grief.  One training program particularly focuses on resilience building in children and adolescents.


KidsMatter is a national mental health promotion, prevention and early intervention initiative for primary schools. This website has information about the program as well as links to resources and an e-newsletter.


MindMatters is a national mental health initiative for secondary schools. This website provides information about the program as well as links to resources.

National Association of School Psychologists

This website contains information, resources and publications that are available to download.

National Center for School Crisis and Bereavement

St. Christopher's Hospital for Children, US
US national resource for schools to support planning and responding to crisis events and losses.

National Child Traumatic Stress Network

Information for parents and caregivers, info for educators, resources, books etc to order, knowledge bank, links to conferences and events. The website contains resources specifically designed for teachers and educators.

Psychologists in Schools Resources

Australian Psychological Society (APS)
This site is available to those registered with the APS as a psychologist working in schools.

Response Ability

This website provides information about the mental health and wellbeing of children, young people and families. This information is intended to support the training of teachers and early childhood educators.

School-Link Initiative

NSW Institute of Psychiatry and NSW Dept of Education
This website provides information on the NSW School-Link Initiative, which links NSW schools with mental health services and support, as well as references and access to publications. The site also contains links to available School-Link training across NSW.

Secretariat of National Aboriginal and Islander Child Care (SNAICC)

The national non government peak body in Australia representing the interests of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children and their families. This site contains links to information about children in childcare and education.


This organisation is a grief and loss organisation that provides information on its website targeted to teachers and educators. 

Winstons Wish

An organisation in the UK that provides information and support regarding grief and loss in children. This website has a section dedicated to schools and teachers.

Updated:  23 April 2024/Responsible Officer:  Director ACATLGN/Page Contact:  Director ACATLGN