Mental Health Training

Policy & Procedures for Responding to Suicide

Policy & Procedures for Responding to Suicide

Suicide Prevention

Mind Matters in recognition of the need to protect the health, safety and welfare of its staff (employees, volunteers, and associates) and customers, and to safeguard against the threat or attempt of suicide among the aforementioned hereby adopts this policy and procedures.

This policy corresponds with and supports other local, regional, national, and international efforts to provide prevention education, early identification and intervention, and access to all local and national resources to promote health and prevent personal harm or injury.

Prevention education is delivered through a number of Mind Matters training products, specifically:

  • Adult & Youth Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) – 1 and 2 day courses
  • Adult & Youth MHFA half day
  • ASIST (Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training) – 2 day course
  • SuicideTALK – 90 minute presentation

All employees will be required to attend the above training courses to have a robust understanding of suicide, suicide prevention, early intervention, and suicide postvention. All volunteers will be offered the opportunity to attend the above training courses but this will not be compulsory. All staff will be offered refresher opportunities after their first course attendance on an annual or bi-annual basis based on their needs.

Training will contain information on comprehensive health and wellness, including emotional, behavioral and social skills development. Courses will be taught only by staff qualified in the training delivery of MHFA and ASIST, and with current and up-to-date membership/licenses.

Staff are taught not to make promises of confidence when they are concerned about a peer or significant other in relation to suicide (or self-harm).

Staff or customers who are in need of intervention will be referred to qualified Mental Health First Aiders, and/or ASIST Life Assisting Care Givers.

All staff are responsible for safeguarding the health and safety of customers and colleagues. All staff are expected to exercise sound professional judgment, err on the side of caution and demonstrate extreme sensitivity throughout any crisis situation.

Any staff member, who is originally made aware of any threat or witnesses any attempt towards suicide or self-harm (see Appendix 1) that is written, drawn, spoken or threatened, will immediately notify the person responsible for Safeguarding and the Founding Director of Mind Matters [Jane McNeice]. Any threat in any form must be treated as real and dealt with immediately. No suicidal person should be left alone, nor confidences promised. Thus, in cases of a life threatening situation a person’s confidentiality will be waivered.

Suicide Crisis Response Procedures Suicide

Threat Definition – A suicide threat is a verbal or non-verbal communication that the individual intends to harm him/herself with the intention to die but has not acted on the behavior.

The staff member who learns of the threat will locate the individual and arrange for or provide constant supervision until professional help is available. If the staff member has received their training in ASIST as a Life Assisting Care Giver, or is a Mental Health First Aider, they may use these skills to support the person, and keep them ‘safe for now’.

If the person at risk is an employee, volunteer, or associate, the Founding Director will contact the person’s emergency contact e.g. partner, parent, carer, other. If the person is a customer e.g. course delegate we will ask the person if they have someone we can contact who may be able to help e.g. partner, caregiver, mental health professional, other.

Suicidal Act or Attempt Definition – Suicidal act (also referred to as suicide attempt) – a potentially self-injurious behavior for which there is evidence that the person probably intended to kill himself or herself; a suicidal act may result in death, injuries, or no injuries.

The first staff member on the scene must call for help from another staff member, locate the individual where possible (if over the telephone), and contact emergency services 999/112. The crisis situation must then be reported to the Founding Director [Jane McNeice]. The Founding Director will document in writing the actions taken. Staff members should move (verbally not physically) all other persons out of the immediate area and arrange appropriate supervision if needed. Others should not be allowed to observe the scene.


The Founding Director will promptly follow up with any staff who might have witnessed the attempt. Appropriate support and/or professional help will be sought if required. Should the staff member choose to decline immediate support they will be monitored for signs of post trauma and re-offered support as and when required. Support may include but is not exclusive to: MHFA, therapy, increased supervision from line manager, or other appropriate and reasonable intervention.

Media representatives should be referred to the Founding Director as spokesperson.

A review of this policy must also be undertaken following any suicide attempt or completion.

Suicide of an Employee or Volunteer

Suicide Definition – death caused self-directed injurious behavior with any intent to die as a result of the behavior.

Note: The coroner must first confirm that the death was a suicide before the Founding Director may state this as the cause of death. Mind Matters will adhere to the wishes of the family in this regard and respect their right to privacy and confidentiality. When a sudden unexplained death of a staff member occurs, the Founding Director will confer with the relevant authorities.

The Founding Director will collect and safeguard the staff member’s belongings from their workstation or office and agree a mutually agreeable date and time in private to return these belongings. Those who assisted in the postvention will be formally thanked for their work. Recommendations and ideas for a memorial should be taken into consideration and discussed with the family. Memorials must be carefully and tastefully planned, considering a broad range of responses. A variety of activities may in fact occur to celebrate positive remembrances, and these expressions often vary.

Date of adoption: July 2018

Review date: Sept 2023

Annual Review date: Sept 2024


Jane McNeice

Founding Director

07833 470979


Appendix 1 – Risk & Protective Factors, Warning Signs, & Types of Suicide

What can increase risk?

  • Lack of friends and social isolation;
  • Family problems;
  • Sexual, physical or emotional abuse;
  • Severe mental health problems;
  • Poorly planned placement transitions;
  • Alcohol and drug problems;
  • Poor physical health;
  • Recent change in role/ loss of role in life;
  • Recent loss/bereavement or anniversary of loss/ bereavement;
  • History of suicide attempts;
  • Family history of suicide attempts.

 Protective factors

  • A sense of optimism and hopefulness;
  • Positive health and participation in sporting activity;
  • Close and healthy family relationships;
  • Religion/ spiritual beliefs;
  • Safe, caring and trusting relationships with adults;
  • Personal resiliency.

  Warning Signs

  • Excessive sadness or moodiness;
  • Sudden calmness after a period of depression;
  • Isolating themselves;
  • Neglect in appearance;
  • Change in sleep patterns and appetite;
  • Self-harming behaviour;
  • Making preparations for the end of life;
  • Talking about suicide;
  • Talking about a violent method of suicide (hanging or shooting).

 Types of suicide

  • Ligatures;
  • Bleeding out;
  • Drowning;
  • Jumping from heights;
  • Running in traffic;
  • Poisoning (including overdose);
  • Suffocating;
  • Starvation.


Self-harm describes any behaviour where someone causes harm to themselves, usually as a way to help cope with difficult or distressing thoughts and feelings. It most frequently takes the form of cutting, burning or nonlethal overdoses. However, it can also be any behaviour that causes injury – no matter how minor, or high-risk behaviours. Basically, any behaviour that that causes harm or injury to someone as a way to deal with difficult emotions can be seen as self-harm (Mental Health Foundation ‘The Truth about Self Harm’)

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