Health and Wellbeing, Mental health

Take a Minute, Change a life on World Suicide Prevention Day

Jo, a member of the Student Wellbeing Team, talks about World Suicide Prevention Day on 10th September 2017 and about creating a Suicide-Safer University…

Every year, more than 800,000 people die by suicide and up to 25 times as many make a suicide attempt. Behind these statistics are the individual stories of those who have, for many different reasons, questioned the value of their own lives.

Each one of these individuals is part of a community, and many will be part of the Cardiff University community. Some may be well linked in this community, and have a network of support. Others may be less well connected, and some may be quite isolated. Regardless of the circumstances, our University Community has a vital role to play in supporting those who are vulnerable.

This idea is reflected in the theme of this year’s World Suicide Prevention Day, on 10th September 2017: Take a minute, change a life.


Taking a Minute can change a life

Life is precious and sometimes precarious. Taking a minute to reach out to someone – a complete stranger or a close friend – can change the course of their life.

People are often reluctant to intervene, even if they are quite concerned about someone. There are many reasons for this, not least that people sometimes fear they will not know what to say.

Another factor that often deters people from starting a conversation is that they worry that they might make the situation worse.

There is a common myth that if you ask somebody if they are thinking about suicide, you may plant the idea in that person’s head; however, all evidence demonstrates that discussing suicide will not give somebody the idea. In fact the opposite is true; bringing up the subject of suicide and discussing it openly is one of the most helpful things you can do.

It is also common for people to believe that all people who commit suicide just want to die. However, most people with suicidal thoughts don’t actually want to end their lives, but want to end some kind of pain in their lives, which leads them towards suicide. Their behaviour is often their call for help.


Become a Suicide-Alert Helper

In collaboration with Living Works, the Counselling, Health and Wellbeing Service is working to make SafeTALK training available for all students and staff who are interested and would like to attend.

SafeTALK is a half-day training Workshop which prepares anyone, regardless of prior experience or training, to become a Suicide-Alert Helper, and teaches people how to identify a person experiencing suicidal thoughts.

The training aims to show people how to recognise the signs that somebody may be considering suicide, but also to equip them to empathically engage a person in distress by directly asking about suicide, and following 4 x simple ‘TALK’ steps: ‘Tell’, ‘Ask’, ‘Listen’ and ‘Keep-safe’.

SafeTALK also trains people on how to avoid inadvertently: Missing, Dismissing or Avoiding signs and cues that another person is thinking of suicide, and how to connect that person to specialised support.

If you would like to become a Suicide Alert Helper, please register your interest in attending a SafeTALK Workshop, by emailing Jo Pinder in the Counselling, Health and Wellbeing Team, at:


Reducing Stigma & Time to Change

Ongoing work to reduce mental health stigma is also an important part of the work towards creating a Suicide-Safer University. Not only does stigmatisation of suicide and mental illness often prevent people from seeking support, which in turn exposes them to greater risk of suicide, but also suicide can sometimes seem the best solution for somebody who is experiencing stigma. Further, suicide is, itself, a source of stigma, as people with suicidal ideation are sometimes viewed by others to be weak, cowardly or selfish.

Cardiff University has signed the Time to Change anti-stigma Campaign pledge, committing to being part of the fight to end mental health stigma and to encouraging staff and students to talk about their concerns to one another as part of a supportive University community.

If you would like to get involved by joining the Time to Change Student Working Group, please email Jo Pinder in the Counselling, Health and Wellbeing Team, at


Support is available – Contact us in Counselling Health & Wellbeing

If you are experiencing any kind of emotional distress or experiencing suicidal thoughts, please do not hesitate to get in touch with us. The Counselling, Health and Wellbeing Service can offer support to anybody experiencing any sort of difficulty.


One-to-one Therapy Appointments

We offer booked, one-to-one appointments via our Online Self-Referral Form, which can be found on the Counselling and Wellbeing Page of the Student Intranet.

During appointments, our friendly, approachable staff can offer you non-judgmental support in a safe and confidential space, as well as working with you to develop coping strategies and providing ways to stay safe if you are experiencing suicidal thoughts.


Walk-In Service

A daily Wellbeing Walk-In Service (3pm-3.45pm: Monday–Friday and Wednesday mornings: 9.30am-10.15am at the Student Support Centre at 50 Park Place) is also available.



We also offer a wide range of Wellbeing Workshops, which are designed to offer information, support and self-help resources on a variety of useful topics and common difficulties experienced by students, including; self-esteem, loneliness, depression, anxiety (presentation, exam and social), stress management and confidence.  We also run workshops on how to improve your wellbeing, address insomnia and learn how to do desk yoga.


Courses & Groups

A number of different therapeutic Courses and Groups are also available, and these offer a safe and confidential space for you to explore issues, share concerns and develop new skills over the course of several weeks.


GP Support

If you are worried that you are experiencing physical symptoms that may be affecting your health, we strongly advise you to make a GP appointment to discuss this. If you do not already have a GP, please contact NHS Wales on 0845 46 47 or check out their website to view all of your GP options. The University also has its own GP Practice: Park Place Surgery for those in their catchment area.


In an Emergency…

If you are having thoughts of suicide and you have made specific suicide plans and think you may act on them imminently then it is vital that you get help now.


How to get Urgent Help

  • Go to any hospital’s A&E (Accident & Emergency) Department and tell them that you are at risk to yourself.


If you don’t feel able to do this, you can:

  • Ring 999 and ask for an ambulance to take you to A&E
  • Ask someone else to contact 999 for you or take you to A&E immediately


If you need some support right now, but don’t want to go to A&E, you can:

  • Contact your GP for an Emergency Appointment or the Out of Hours team (every GP surgery will have one, and contact details will usually be available on the Surgery’s telephone service and website)


You could also contact:


Samaritans: open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, to listen to anything that is upsetting you, including intrusive thoughts and difficult thoughts of suicide and self-harm.

–           Call: 116 123 (national Freephone number)

–           Email:

–           Samaritans also offer a Welsh Language Line on 0300 123 3011 (7pm–11pm

only, seven days a week).


C.A.L.L. is the ‘Community Advice and Listening Line’, offering a confidential listening and support service to anybody in Wales who is concerned about their own mental health or that of somebody else.

–           Call: 0800 123 737

–           Text: ‘help’ to 81066.


HOPElineUK: is a confidential support and advice service for young people under the age of 35 who may be having thoughts of suicide, or anyone concerned a young person may be having thoughts of suicide. Opening hours are: 10am-10pm weekdays, 2pm-10pm weekends, and 2pm-5pm Bank Holidays

            –           Call: 0800 068 41 41

            –           Text: 07786209697

            –           Email:


Nightline: offers listening support and/or information to students from other students during term-time, 8pm-8am, daily

  • Call: 02920 870555, 8pm-8am (term-time only)
  • You can also chat with the team on Instant Messenger, available 8pm-12am daily, during term-time


Befrienders Worldwide: offer emotional support to prevent suicide worldwide. If you are not in the UK and you need support, you can visit their website, select your country – wherever you are in the world – and the website will give details of the national Helplines that you can use in that area.



If you are concerned that another student may be suicidal

If you are concerned that another student may be suicidal you can contact The Counselling, Health and Wellbeing Service on 029 2087 4966 or at

Whilst the Counselling, Health and Wellbeing Service is not an emergency service, a member of staff is available On Duty every week day, between 9am and 4.30pm and would be able to provide support quickly to the student of concern – normally by meeting with the student on the day of contact.


Your feedback and help please

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Best wishes,

Jo, Counselling, Health & Wellbeing Team.

Your Student Life, Supported.

The Student Support Centre has a range of services dedicated to helping students make the most of their time at University, including: Advice & Money, Careers & Employability, Counselling, Health & Wellbeing, Disability & Dyslexia and International Student Support.

The Student Support Centres are located at 50 Park Place, Cathays Campus and Cardigan House, Heath Park Campus.

For further details of services, events, opening times and more find us on the University Intranet.


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