World Suicide Prevention Day

Today marks World Suicide Prevention Day, held on the 10th September every year. The day is organised by the International Association for Suicide Prevention (IASP) and the World Health Organisation, and aims to reach out to people who may be struggling.

Why is it important?

Last year, 5,821 people died by suicide. Three-quarters of those 5,821 people were male. During 2016-17, 95 students in higher education died by suicide, with significantly higher rates of suicide for male, compared with female students. In response to the concern over student mental health, Universities UK, in collaboration with the prevention of young suicide UK charity Papyrus, recently published guidance on preventing suicide in young people at Universities.

What can I do?

Reaching out to someone today, particularly if you think someone you know may be struggling, can make a difference. Check in with them and see how they are. Advice on how to start the conversation is available from IASP, Rethink Mental Illness, Mind, and support guides from the Support After Suicide Partnership (Help is at Hand, pages 49-52; Finding the words). Information on how suicide bereavement is different is also provided by Survivors of Bereavement by Suicide.

What to do in a crisis

If you or someone that you know is experiencing a life-threatening medical or mental health emergency:

  • Call 999 and ask for an ambulance (or ask someone else to call for you)
  • Go to A & E (or ask someone else to take you)

Urgent care, but not life-threatening

  • Call 111 (England)
  • Book an emergency GP appointment

Use the ‘I need urgent help’ tool offered by Mind.

Further information on what to do in a mental health crisis or emergency is provided by the NHS. Help for suicidal thoughts can also be found on the NHS website.







If you would like someone to talk to, you may find the following support lines useful:


Advice for young people at risk of suicide
0800 068 4141 (helpline 10am – 10pm, Monday – Friday and 2pm – 5pm, weekends and bankholidays)
07786 209697 (SMS)


116 123 (Freephone, 24 hour helpline)

Survivors of Bereavement by Suicide

For those personally affected by suicide
0300 111 5065 (9am to 9pm)

CALM (Campaign Against Living Miserably)

A charity dedicated to preventing male suicides
0800 58 58 58 (5pm  – midnight every day)
07537 404717 (SMS)

Sane Line

Offering specialist mental health emotional support 4.30-10.30pm everyday. You can also email through their website.

Tel: 0300 304 7000. Web:


Blog post written by Dr Rachel Moss, Research Associate (University of Portsmouth) for the Office for Students postgraduate research student wellbeing project.

Self-care for GCSE and A-Level results days

Every year, over a two-week period in August, students receive the results of their exam efforts for A-Levels and GCSEs (in 2018, these were released on the 16th and 23rd August). For many, this can be a time of great celebration and happiness, but it can also be a period of stress and anxiety.

There have been reports within the media of increases in stress and academic anxiety for students who have taken the new, adjusted GCSEs. These updated GCSEs are now assessed almost exclusively with examinations at the end of the course, and grade boundaries altered to a numeric system (9-1, similar to the old A*-G grades), adding to student pressure. A similar story has been reported for students taking their A-Levels, particularly in light of recent changes to the qualification, whereby students are assessed with end of course exams, rather than coursework and AS levels. The stress associated with exam results is also emphasised by a recent report from Childline. Last year, the charity reported a 21% increase in young people accessing Childline counselling sessions to discuss their worries over exam results, over a two-year period. For 16-18 year olds, the increase was steeper – 68% – over a two-year period.

With these reports in mind, what kind of help is available to manage this potentially stressful and anxious results period? The following online resources, which offer advice for young people, as well as parents/carers, may be useful:

Resources for young people: 

Resources for parents/carers:

About the author

Blog post written by Dr Rachel Moss, Research Assistant for the Office for Students postgraduate research student wellbeing project. Dr Moss is based within the School of Education and Sociology at the University of Portsmouth.