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Supporting someone having suicidal thoughts

Supporting students

Content note - suicide



We've compiled some resources to help if someone you know is having suicidal thoughts.

Mind, the mental health charity provide this advice for what to do in an emergency:

If you’re worried that someone is at immediate risk of taking their own life, you should stay with that person and take one of the following steps:

  • encourage them to ring the Samaritans, 116 123, open 24 hours a day
  • contact their GP for an emergency appointment or the out of hours service
  • call their Community Mental Health Team (CMHT), if they have one
  • ring 999 or NHS direct (111 from any landline or mobile phone, free of charge)
  • go to the nearest Accident and Emergency (A&E) department. [The nearest Accident & Emergency department to campus is at the Royal Sussex County Hospital, Eastern Road, Brighton, BN2 5BE]
  • [In Brighton you are advised to contact the Mental Health Rapid Response Service (MHRRS) for anyone who is at risk of harming themselves or others or experiencing a mental health emergency and considering attending A&E. The service is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, Call 0300 304 0078]

If someone has attempted suicide, you should ring 999 and stay with them until the ambulance arrives.

If you feel someone is in immediate danger of suicide and will not approach anyone for help, you may want to think about contacting social services or your GP. Under the Mental Health Act 1983, a person can be treated without their consent. This means that they will be sectioned. The assessment of whether someone should be sectioned usually involves an approved social worker, two doctors and/or a relative. This is, inevitably, a heavy responsibility and can lead to the person being detained under the Mental Health Act. It’s important that you are fully informed about what might happen before you make this decision (see our guide to the Mental Health Act 1983). It might also be a good idea to talk this through with someone you trust.

Mind also have a guide to dealing with a mental health crisis which has lots of information about support services for people having suicidal thoughts.

University support services in a crisis

The University has 24 hour assistance available - read more at www.sussex.ac.uk/campus-support/.

You can also call University Security on 01273 87 3333. They are available 24 hours a day, every day.

If you’re living in the private sector and need out-of-hours emergency welfare support please phone JAM, the University's out-of-hours call-back service, on 020 8938 3873.

Other support services

Grassroots are a Brighton-based charity which helps individuals and communites support people at risk of suicide. They have a list of local and national support services. They have also created the Stay Alive app, a pocket suicide prevention resource, packed full of useful information for people with thoughts of suicide and people concerned about someone else. It can connect the user to UK crisis lines and can be customised for personal use.

The Samaritans offer a 24 hour listening service, Freephone 116 123.

Rethink Survivors of Suicide service - This service offers support to those who have had thoughts of suicide, attempted and /or have been bereaved by suicide. You can self-refer or be referred. The service is free and confidential service. It offers one to one support and peer support groups. You can also get support from Rethink’s national helplines

Mental health professionals also offer telephone support on the Sussex Mental Health Helpline, phone 0300 5000 101.

HOPElineUK on 0800 068 41 41 is for people up to the age of 35 or anyone concerned about a young person. Find details of HOPElineUK's hours of availability.

If you are concerned about suicide related behaviour online, see this guidance [pdf].

Supporting yourself

Make sure you that you also look after your own well-being. Mind offers some advice on supporting yourself including getting support from others and not blaming yourself.

Brighton & Hove City Council have compiled resources and support services for those bereaved by suicide.

Sussex & BSMS students can seek support from the Student Life Centre and University Counselling Services.


Contact us

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