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HEE launches new learning resources to prevent suicide and self-harm

10 September 2020

Health Education England has launched new online resources to help prevent suicide and self-harm as part of its contribution to World Suicide Prevention Day (September 10).

Each year, suicide is among the top 20 leading causes of death globally for people of all ages. It is responsible for over 800,000 deaths, which equates to one suicide every 40 seconds.

HEE already has a large suite of mental health training resources aimed at alleviating the psychological distress of healthcare professionals and helping them to help others.

The new online training provided by HEE e-Learning for Healthcare (e-LfH) will supplement these.

The module, which is free to access, offers guidance and advice to anyone who is directly involved with caring for or is in contact with those who have suicidal ideas - with or without self-harm - or those who self-harm, with or without current suicidal ideas. This could include health and care professionals, parents, carers and teachers.

Part of e-LfH’s MindEd programme, It is designed to support learners with knowledge-oriented sessions to help identify the ‘dos’ and ‘don’ts’ in these difficult situations. The module is available here: https://www.minded.org.uk/Component/Details/653238.

The coronavirus pandemic has proved particularly traumatic for many people, and the mental health of young people is high on the agenda. Two existing modules  on suicide and self-harm to help teachers and others working with children and young people are available here:


Professor Simon Gregory, Deputy Medical Director, Primary and Integrated Care, Health Education England said: “All of us will know of someone that has died by suicide, and this could be a close family member or friend.

“As an organisation, we seek to reduce risk and ensure fewer deaths by creating a supportive workplace and making HEE the best place to work. We have advocated for wellbeing across the NHS and will continue to support wider efforts, including those of the National Suicide Prevention Alliance.”

He added: “Suicide is preventable.  Good research evidence shows that people who feel desolate and hopeless are helped not to attempt suicide by someone showing interest, often referred to as ‘one act of kindness’. Please don’t put off until tomorrow the kindness you can show today.

"It may just be the kindness that saves a life.”

HEE’s many useful training resources include the core e-learning topic ‘We Need To Talk About Suicide’, to assist anyone who works or volunteers in a setting helping others to feel more confident about recognising early signs and supportively asking about thoughts of suicide.  Details can be found here:-  http://www.nwyhelearning.nhs.uk/elearning/HEE/SuicidePrevention/

HEE’s older people’s mental health competency framework, expedited in its release to support the COVID-19 response, details specific competences required to identify and support older people when their mental health means they are risk of suicide and self-harm:


HEE’s education mental health practitioners occupy a place in education settings where they can pick up mild to moderate issues in children and young people, referring them quickly and freeing up more specialist help when needed:


And for those children and young people who have experienced a crisis in their mental health, HEE has supported the development of ‘We Can Talk’, an online training tool to improve staff knowledge and confidence when supporting children and young people attending hospital in an emergency due to their mental health:


Resources are updated regularly.