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:
- workshops and groups
- self-help resources
- Be Well initiative, including events, app and blog
Staff members are encouraged to develop mental fitness via:
How you can help others
We encourage everyone in our community to undertake 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, it's important to ask for help when you need it, and we have many ways of accessing support. If you are worried about yourself or another student or member of staff, then students can speak to the Wellbeing Service, SU Advice or Security. If you are a member of staff then you could speak to your line manager, HR, a Wellbeing Champion, or Security.
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 information about the ongoing support available to students 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 Human Resources, Student Support & Safeguarding, the SU, Security, Student Living, Communications, academic colleagues from the Departments of Health & Psychology, as well as external partners from BaNES Public Health Department.
The work of the SPWG is integrated into the University’s existing structures and reports to both the Student Experience Advisory Board and Staff Experience Advisory Board. It is also integrated with our commitment to achieve the Mental Health Charter Award and supports the 'Be Well' at Bath vision for a whole university approach to mental health and wellbeing.
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, various changes have been implemented and work is ongoing to prevent suicide within the University community. The group has developed a Suicide Safer Community Action Plan and meet regularly to monitor progress, drive this work forward, and keep track of best practice.
Suicide Safer Community Action Plan
Our Suicide Safer Community Action Plan represents work underway throughout the university community, involving students and staff, to prevent suicide. This year, 2022-23, some of our actions include:
- Implementing (with effect March 2023) the R;pple add-on to internet browsers on all University of Bath devices, that where someone searches for words associated with suicide, a pop-up will appear to signpost that person to support. Read more about R;pple for students and staff.
- Launching a men’s mental health initiative ‘MENtion it’. Read more about MENtion it.
- Alongside promoting our mental health awareness training, we’re training key staff in suicide intervention, to enable staff to safely intervene if someone is experiencing suicidal ideation (this is underway, with training being delivered up to June 2023)
- Creating a Serious Incident Review protocol, following guidance for the sector from December 2022, to help support those affected by serious self-harm and suicide, as well as identifying any learnings within the university community that may prevent future harm
- Student Support has collaborated with the national charity Survivors of Bereavement by Suicide (SoBS) to offer on-campus support to students who have been affected by the loss of someone to suicide. Students are invited to come together to share (talk and/or listen) how they are being impacted, ask questions, and be supported by trained staff who will also talk about some of their own experiences of bereavement by suicide. Further information available online.
To find out more please contact Alice Ludgate, Director of Student Support and Safeguarding.