In last month’s blog, students were welcomed back to university for the Spring term and reminded of the wellbeing support available from the Student Wellbeing and Inclusivity Service. We know that the Spring term can be very busy and may feel overwhelming at times, so please speak with us if you need any advice or support.

As part of the University of Essex’s Suicide Prevention and Response Plan, we want students to feel empowered to tackle the stigma and myths surrounding suicide and become suicide prevention advocates so that everyone can be supported and create a suicide safer community.

Let's Talk About Suicide Essex is a new website developed as part of the #TalkSuicideEssex campaign, aiming to reduce the stigma of talking about suicide and raise awareness of suicide prevention. Free, online suicide prevention training has been created for university students by Zero Suicide Alliance, and we would strongly encourage all our students to participate to be equipped with the skills and confidence to have a potentially lifesaving conversation.

Looking after your own wellbeing

When supporting someone who is feeling suicidal, it’s very important to look after yourself and your own safety and wellbeing.

Supporting someone who is struggling with thoughts or feelings of suicide is distressing. Following your conversations with them, make sure you rest and process what has happened. Remember that it is okay to decide that you are no longer able to help someone and instead empower them to seek support themselves from professional services or from other close family and friends.

MIND have a dedicated webpage with information on looking after yourself when supporting someone who is suicidal or struggling with their mental health.

Make sure that you look after your own physical and mental wellbeing by doing the things you enjoy, trying relaxation techniques to calm your mind and body, eating healthily and regularly, and getting enough sleep.

Be kind to yourself — it’s normal to feel helpless, sad, shocked, and frightened when someone you are close to says they are suicidal. There’s no right or wrong way to feel, but it’s important to seek support for yourself.

If you are struggling with your own feelings after supporting someone who is suicidal, you can call Samaritans on 116 123 to talk about how you are feeling and get support. You can also come to our Wellbeing Drop-In Service located on the first floor of the Silberrad Student Centre, open Monday to Friday from 10am to 4pm, or by emailing to chat with a member of the Student Wellbeing and Inclusivity Service.

If you are experiencing thoughts of harming yourself, or concerned for someone you know, you can call Papyrus on 0800 068 4141, or Samaritans on 116 123, for confidential advice and support.

During evenings and weekends, you can contact the 24-Hour Student Wellbeing Support Line on 0800 970 5020. You can also access our SilverCloud and Togetherall online support programmes at any time.