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University hosts event to support suicide prevention


The University of Wolverhampton hosted an event to bring together members of the university and its wider partners to support suicide prevention, intervention, and postvention in further and higher education.

Later this autumn, national guidance will be published to support those in further and higher education in response to suicide.

The University of Wolverhampton has joined a nationwide development group led by an editorial team comprising of Professor Jo Smith, Dr Simon Merrywest and David Malpas, to work together to support the sector and those affected, in the aftermath of suspected suicides, developing a set of guidance for the sector, by the sector.

This guidance is underpinned by the message that whilst we should never accept the inevitability of suicide, we should consider that robust suicide postvention is suicide prevention.

In the run-up to World Mental Health Day and in advance of the national guidance being published, Clare Dickens MBE, Chair of Wolverhampton’s Suicide Prevention Stakeholder’s Forum and Academic Lead for Mental Health and Wellbeing at the University of Wolverhampton, hosted an event at the Chancellor’s Hall at the University’s City Campus to bring partners together and share best practice.

Speakers included Mental Health and Suicide Prevention expert Professor Jo Smith and co-editor of the pioneering book ‘Preventing and Responding to Student Suicide: A Practical Guide for FE and HE Settings’ who created a carefully configured resource to support colleagues in further education (FE) and higher education (HE).

During the event, attendees also heard the living experiences of those affected by suicide bereavement, and how they have worked with the sector to drive and support change.

James Murray, who following the loss of his son Ben, has supported work on confident information sharing which is a feature of  . As well as Isabella de George who has spearheaded a national guidance and  , following the loss of her brother Harrison. Both developments have been launched within the last few days.

In addition, attendees received an insight into survivor stories to highlight the importance of having safety planning and support in place.

Clare_DickensClare Dickens said: “Safety planning for suicidal thoughts is something everyone should have. No-one knows what tomorrow may bring and it’s important that we consider how we might gain support should emotional pain become unbearable, underpinned by the absolute belief that these thoughts do pass, and that as individuals, we do matter. This of course has to be met half-way, as sector leaders we have to recognise the signs, be receptive to help-seeking and have support in place across whole systems to prevent future tragedies.

“The HE and FE sectors are challenged to create brave and compassionate communities spanning this continuum of prevention for all, and intervention for those in emerging and acute need. This is everyone’s business, and everyone’s right.

“For me, the main message is that we can’t stop here, we can’t ever afford to think we’ve got this all sussed because we haven’t and probably never will. But we have to maintain that commitment as a leadership priority.”

Christopher Gettins, who has recently completed his degree studying Mental Health Nursing, delivered a presentation to showcase his story and how the University is working alongside students as partners.

Chris_MHChristopher said: “It was a real honour to have been invited to present at the conference and share the work we did as students, working alongside colleagues at the University, in my two years as a School Representative.

“It’s clear that the University has become a real powerhouse in supporting placement-based students and their mental health and well-being. I’m so proud to be working with the University and our partners to tackle these issues and provide further support to those who need it most.”


Attendees also had the opportunity to learn about suicide prevention developments from City of Wolverhampton Council Public Health Teams, Papyrus Black Country Healthcare Foundation Trust, NHS England, Universities UK and many more.

Mayor of Wolverhampton, Councillor Sandra Samuels, former Mayor, Councillor Claire Darke and Dr Paul Darke were also in attendance and continue to support suicide prevention efforts across the city.

To find out more about safety planning, visit:

Support for students

If you feel stressed or anxious, you can find support at the University by clicking here.

You may also find it useful to visit Student Space, developed by Student Minds, for expert information and advice to help you through the challenges of student life.


For more information please contact the Corporate Communications Team.

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