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Suicide awareness and prevention

This page outlines support for students & staff, the impact suicide can have on us, what the University is doing to prevent suicide and how we can all help.

If you or someone you know are experiencing thoughts about ending your life, help and support is at hand. One in five people will experience suicidal thoughts at some point in their lifetime (How common are mental health problems? - Mind). This might range from wishing you weren’t here anymore or thinking others would be better off without you, to making plans to end your life. These thoughts can be scary, overwhelming, and hard to talk about – but whatever you’re going through, you are not alone. On this page you can find support, advice and resources for both students and staff to help us cope, respond, and start those seemingly difficult conversations.

Urgent wellbeing support

Please don’t keep suicidal feelings to yourself. Tell someone you trust. If you (or someone you know) are having suicidal thoughts and do not feel able to keep yourself safe then call Security on 01225 383999, if you are not on campus call 111 or go to the nearest Accident & Emergency.

If you have seriously harmed yourself – for example, by taking a drug overdose – or you feel that you may be about to harm yourself, call 999 for an ambulance or go straight to A&E. Or ask someone else to call 999 or take you to A&E.

External sources of support are also available 24/7, including the Samaritans, who can be contacted for free from mobiles and landlines on 116 123.

HOPELINEUK is also available for confidential support and practical advice. This line is run by the suicide prevention charity Papyrus.

If you need to talk to somebody urgently about your, or a colleague’s, friend's, or student's wellbeing call the support helplines which are open 24 hours a day, every day: Urgent or emergency wellbeing support.

Looking after our mental health

Looking after our mental health and wellbeing is a life-long priority, and we should encourage others around us to do the same.

Students can sign up for various free programmes to develop mental fitness:

Staff members are encouraged to develop mental fitness via:

How you can help others

We encourage everyone in our community to do the Zero Suicide Alliance Training. This training lasts less than 30 minutes, and at times may be uncomfortable, but once completed we hope you will have a better understanding of suicide, why it happens and what you can do to help prevent it. This training also works towards the wider aim of breaking down the stigma surrounding suicide by encouraging open conversations about it. There is also Zero Suicide Alliance Training specifically for university students.

If there has been an attempted or suspected suicide, talking with other students and staff about suicide is important at this time; it can help everyone cope with the trauma and grief. Talking to others and listening to their concerns can help highlight others who are having difficulty coping.

You may not know exactly what to say or do – most people don’t. You don’t need to have ready answers or solutions. Being there for others and listening to them is often enough. If you are struggling, there is no shame in asking for help when you feel like coping on your own is too difficult.

Samaritans have a list of other sources of support you may find useful.

The impact on our community

An attempted or suspected suicide can be traumatic and distressing, whether or not you knew the person. Everyone acts or reacts in their own way and it’s important to know that there is no right or wrong way of feeling and all our feelings are valid.

The University offers a range of wellbeing support to students affected by any bereavement, whether this has happened recently while at university or several years ago. For more information please visit Bereavement support at Bath.

The Samaritan’s Step by Step programme provides practical support and guidance to help university communities prepare for, and recover from, a suspected or attempted suicide. Students and staff can find the advice and guidance here.

The Office for Students has also provided advice, guidance, and resources for universities.

Help is at hand – Support After Suicide is also resource for people bereaved through suicide or other unexplained death, and for those helping them.

Suicide Prevention Working Group (SPWG)

The SPWG was established in 2020, and is chaired by the Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Student Experience). Membership of the group includes representation and specialist advice from HR, Student Support & Safeguarding, the SU, academic colleagues from the Departments of Health & Psychology, as well as external partners from BaNES Public Health Department.

The group undertook a review of suicide prevention at the University for students and staff in line with the UUK/Papyrus Suicide Safer Universities guidance. As a result of this some changes have been implemented and work is ongoing to prevent suicide within the University community.

The work of the SPWG is integrated into the University’s existing structures alongside the ongoing commitment of the University to achieve the Mental Health Charter. The SPWG will meet every six months to drive this work at Bath and keep track of best practice.

Enquiries

If you have any enquiries students should contact Student Support & Safeguarding; and staff, Employee Wellbeing.