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Suicide prevention, awareness and support

What to do if you're having suicidal thoughts

If you're having suicidal thoughts, here is some information on how to look after yourself and talk to someone during this time.

Thoughts of suicide are common. Many adults will experience suicidal thoughts at some point in their lives. The feelings that drive suicide are often temporary and situation-specific, for instance, a stressful event associated with feelings of loss can trigger suicidal thoughts.


  • Contact your GP for their out of hours services;
  • Call the NHS on 111;
  • Papyrus (support for people feeling suicidal, available 10am – 10pm weekdays, 2pm – 10pm weekends, 2pm – 5pm bank holidays): 0800 0684141, text 07786 209697 or email;
  • Safeguarding is everyone’s responsibility, and we can all play a part in keeping our community safe. Salford University is committed to providing a safe environment for all our students, and keeping them free from harm, abuse or neglect. See our Safeguarding guide if you have any concerns.  
  • Samaritans (a free service to speak to someone about how you’re feeling, available 24 hours a day): 116 123 or email;
  • Sanctuary (offers a safe place to go at night, open from 8pm – 6am): 0300 003 7029;
  • Nightline (a confidential listening and information service run for students by students. Available 8pm – 8am during term-time or you can email 24 hours a day, every day of the year to The number is on the back of your university ID card;
  • CALM (support for men, available 5pm – midnight daily): 0800 58 58 58 or chat online at;
  • University Security emergency number: 0161 295 3333;
  • In an emergency you can call 999 for an ambulance or go to A&E.

This information is purely relating to mental health; if you need any other support see here:


The University of Salford is committed to ensuring we do everything we can to provide a safe and supportive environment for all its students and to respond appropriately to incidents of sexual assault.  We have developed a guidance document which you can download or print to help you understand the options available to you, whether or not you choose to disclose to anyone at the University or use any of our support services.

If you have any other questions or need support or advice, or would like to suggest any improvements to the guidance and support we offer, please contact the askUS: Enquiries service.

Look after yourself

  • You can save emergency phone numbers and what to do when you are feeling suicidal in a safety plan. Download a safety plan template (PDF 133KB)
  • Be around friends or family. If this is not possible, get to a safe place and call them.
  • You may also choose to call a helpline, such as the Samaritans (call 116 123), Nightline (call 0207 631 0101) or Switchboard - the LGBT+ helpline(available by phone, email and chat messenger). 
  • Try to not consume drugs or alcohol.
  • Do things you enjoy, such as listening to music, exercising, or watching a favourite TV show.  
  • Read and download suicide prevention resources, such as:
    • Stay Alive App: A free Apple or Android app that provides access to national helplines, a personalised mini-safety plan, and guidance on how to help others who may be suicidal.
    • Jason Foundation - 'A Friend Asks' app: A free information and resources app for Apple and Android to help yourself or to prevent the suicide of someone you know. Includes a ‘Get Support Now’ section for crisis situations.

Time to Talk

If you are feeling suicidal, the most important thing is to talk to someone.

If you are going through a difficult period, you may feel isolated and disconnected from your personal support networks. You may also worry about the reaction and impact on those close to you if you share thoughts of suicide. It may feel awkward to start a conversation and there isn’t a right or wrong way to talk about suicidal feelings. Starting the conversation is what’s important.

You may want to talk to a trusted family member, a friend, a colleague, a staff member in your department or University Wellbeing & Counselling or your GP. It is important to remember that people care and will want to help. Professional support is available and it is easy to access.

Appointments or Advice with Counselling and Wellbeing

Our team of advisors and Counsellors offer confidential and non-judgmental appointments. The advisors have a wealth of experience and skills including Mental Health First Aid and suicide prevention training. They will listen to you and seek to understand how you are feeling.

Our team can help you identify and access therapeutic and/or medical support, suggest adjustments to study and agree a safety plan with you. A safety plan is a personalised plan to support you step by step during periods when you're feeling suicidal.

The advisors are based across campus. You can also call us on 0161 295 0023 (option 1, option 1 or email

Support in accommodation

If you're living in a hall of residence, you can speak to on site staff who will be able to assist you if needed. They can call emergency services if you need them or refer you to the University Counselling and Wellbeing.

You can also talk to the Students’ Union Denizen reps who are based across accommodation sites. The Denizen Reps are there for you to talk to when you are struggling and will be able to offer support and signposting

Support outside University : this information can be kept as it is  just add the link to our on site GP – Could we add that students can register online for our GP.

What to do if someone has shared suicidal thoughts or plans

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Advice for Staff when someone has shared Suicidal thoughts or plans

Understanding suicide

Suicide is a complex issue. It is never possible to truly understand why someone chooses to take their own life. However, we can all learn and understand enough so that we are able to support students, colleagues or personal relations who may be experiencing emotional difficulties and suicidal feelings.

According to the International Association for Suicide Prevention, suicide usually occurs gradually; progressing from suicidal thoughts, to planning, to attempting suicide and finally dying by suicide.

Most people thinking of suicide let others know, consciously or unconsciously. Therefore, if we know how to respond, suicide can be a preventable death.

What does it mean to feel suicidal? 

Being ‘suicidal’ or having suicidal thoughts means that someone is thinking about or planning suicide. Thoughts can range from a fleeting consideration, to a detailed plan.

Thoughts of suicide are common. Samaritans and the Office of National Statistics estimate that 1 in 20 of us have thoughts of suicide every year. In most cases, these are temporary and can be treated, but in some cases, they place the individual at risk of attempting or completing suicide.  

Once someone is having thoughts of suicide, they may start to think about how they may take their own life, possibly talk to others, or research how they can suicide, i.e. make plans. Plans can move into behaviour. 

If someone has attempted suicide before, they are significantly more likely to eventually die by suicide than the rest of the population (Samaritans, 'Myths about suicide').

Supporting and referring a student who is feeling suicidal

Step 1: Encourage the student to talk 

Starting the conversation gives the person permission to speak and offers some relief from the pressure of constantly thinking about suicide. Some students may mention suicidal feelings openly when others may find it difficult to say directly that they are feeling suicidal. They may instead state that they ‘want to disappear’, feel like they are being ‘a burden to others’ or 'it's like the whole world is against me' or another similar statement to this effect. In such circumstances, it is recommended to ask the student directly if they are having suicidal thoughts.

Remember that talking about suicide does not increase the risk of it. Encouraging the student to stay connected and involved with study and activities is also recommended. Be there for them, but acknowledge your limitations and refer to professional support.

Step 2: Explain the professional support available to students and make a referral to University Counselling and Wellbeing ( 50023 opt 1 opt 1).

Emergency support 

If a student is in immediate danger of harming themselves or attempting to take their own life:

  • The student should go directly to the Accident & Emergency (A&E) department of their local hospital to get help
  • Call 999 to request an ambulance for the student if they are unable to reach the hospital themselves

Talking through the different options with a student can make them feel more reassured about engaging with professional support. Here is an outline of key support services available to students within Salford University and externally. It is important to remember that you should not deal with this alone.

if you have requested an ambulance for a student to be take to A&E please inform Counselling and Wellbeing 0161 295 0023 (or Email) so that appropriate follow up action can be taken.

Do not go to A&E with student, ask if there is someone they can call to go with them or ask if you can contact someone for them to meet them.

Share your concerns

If you have spoken to a student who has expressed thoughts, feelings or plans around suicide please inform Counselling and Wellbeing who will be able to reach out and offer the necessary support or action 50023 opt 1 opt 1.

If it is out of hours and you are concerned about a students safety you can contact 111 for medical advice or 999 for advice or to request a welfare check.

Step 3: Stay in touch with the student

It is important to agree with the student that you will follow up with them to ensure they are engaging with professional support.

It is not expected that you will offer ongoing support to the student after you’ve informed them of the appropriate professional support and informed Counselling and Wellbeing

Step 4: Look after yourself

It can be very distressing to support a person who may be feeling suicidal. For this reason, it is especially important that you look after yourself while supporting others. You can seek support from your manager and engage with support through Occupational Health and Wellbeing.

Advice for Parents or external agencies

Emergency support 

If a student is in immediate danger of harming themselves or attempting to take their own life:

  • The student should go directly to the Accident & Emergency (A&E) department of their local hospital to get help
  • Salford Royal Hospital is the nearest A&E department to Salford's main campus
  • Call 999 to request an ambulance for the student if they are unable to reach the hospital themselves

It can be very distressing to learn that your child or a close relation may be feeling suicidal. It is important to remember that this is common and one in four young people experience thoughts of suicide. These thoughts can be triggered by a number of different experiences, such as moving to a new place, new friends, and worries about study and/or employment.

It is important to be there for them and to encourage them to access professional support as soon as possible. Contact us! The University of Salford have a dedicated Counselling and Wellbeing service who are here to support our students. If you have any concerns about a student, please get in touch for advice or to share concerns so that the service can offer advice or take appropriate follow up action if needed.

Useful resources

Below is a list of useful resources to support those experiencing suicidal thoughts, along with suggestions for training to help you support others.

Recommended apps

Stay Alive app 

A free Apple or Android app that provides access to national helplines, a personalised mini-safety plan, and guidance on how to help others who may be suicidal.

Find out more about the Stay Alive app and download

Jason Foundation - 'A Friend Asks' app 

A free information and resources app for Apple and Android to help yourself or to prevent the suicide of someone you know. Includes a ‘Get Support Now’ section for crisis situations. 

Find out more about the Jason Foundation - 'A Friend Asks' app and download

Recommended training 

'Let's Talk' suicide awareness training 

  • This is a free training course from Zero Suicide Alliance focussing on suicide awareness, including the following:
    • How to spot the signs;
    • How to have a conversation about suicide using scenarios;
    • Personal stories to further reinforce the importance of being suicide aware.
  • The training takes approximately 20 minutes to complete.

Take the 'Let's Talk' suicide awareness training

Public Health England (PHE) e-module 

  • This new training resource hopes to raise vital awareness of suicide for the wider public health workforce, including those in health, social care, the charitable sector and the public. This e-learning package provides information about suicide and what we can do to help prevent it.
  • Launched on World Mental Health Day on 10 October, the 'We Need to Talk about Suicide' initiative, developed jointly by Health Education England and PHE highlights the impact of suicide on individuals, families and communities.
  • Everyone has a role to play in asking about suicide – and you don’t need to be an expert in mental health to do it. If you are worried about someone don’t be afraid to talk to them, you won’t make things worse, and you can only help.
  • The training takes approximately 1 hour to complete.

Visit the Public Health England (PHE) e-module