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Knowledge Base

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Important Reads

It is extremely challenging to make your voice heard and to articulate the change that you want to see. An important step is to check what has already been said on the subject in the past. There is an overwhelming body of knowledge on suicide so we have curated a useful list of publications, articles and thought pieces written by other organisations as well as some home-grown contributions from LEARN.

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On 13 December 2022 Universities UK published their New guidance for universities on how to respond to student suicide. The document was created in partnership with PAPYRUS and Samaritans, and funded by the Office for Students. It provides practical advice for student support teams, including a checklist to guide staff after a student death.

The guidance is the first of its kind to set out the challenges that need careful and compassionate management following any student death but especially a suspected death by suicide.

The guidance includes the recommendation to carry out Serious Incident Reviews and LEARN contributed the 'SAFER' framework to guide such reviews.

Here is your link to the UUK website where the PDF document is available to download. 

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This guide provides a framework to understand student suicide, mitigate risk, intervene when students get into difficulties, and respond to these tragic deaths. It sets out the steps institutions can take to make their community suicide-safer.

This publication was launched in 2018 following a dozen suicides within 18 months at Bristol University. It was launched by UUK together with Papyrus and the Vice Chancellor of Bristol at that time. LEARN members contributed to the publication and its launch.

Download your copy here

The idea behind the University Mental Health Charter (2019) was to set out the ideal approach to improve the mental health outcomes for the whole university community. What if we could create a quality improvement scheme that will recognise and reward universities that demonstrate good practice? Gaining a Charter Award is a recognition of the journey universities have travelled so far, in developing their approach to mental health and wellbeing. In 2022 it was announced that the following universities had received the Charter Award: University of Bristol; University of East London; Glasgow Caledonian University; Hartpury University and University College London. 


Read more and download your PDF here

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To understand more about how academics are managing student mental health, this project interviewed 52 academics at five universities. Participants reported large numbers of students experiencing mental health difficulties. A number of the academics interviewed described experiences of student mental illness that carried high levels of risk and distress. Academics who had worked in the role for many years stressed that they were seeing an
increase in the prevalence of mental health difficulties. This report sets out 11 key findings and recommendations to ensure that students and academics are effectively and safely supported. LEARN regard this as essential but difficult reading. The report calls out the need for a debate on Duty Of Care and to clarify the role and responsibilities of staff.

Read the report here

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LEARN members contributed to the chapters of this book that relate to information sharing with families and the development of 'compassionate culture'. In the words of our friends at HEPI "this is the first book ‘that specifically and uniquely focuses on suicide in an educational setting rather than a healthcare context’. Across 23 chapters, academics, healthcare professionals, and policymakers address understanding and preventing suicide among students (Part I) and ‘postvention’, or interventions aimed at supporting those directly affected by student suicide (Part II). The topics, which range from theoretical perspectives on student suicide, to responding to the needs of families, students, and staff after a student suicide, are further united by the authors’ shared aim ‘to persuade individuals and institutions that student suicide prevention and postvention are important and key components of 21st century FE and HE support’.

This book is available to purchase via

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