We need to talk about suicide: helping everyone to feel more confident to talk about suicide is an eLearning programme that has been developed for the wider public health workforce including voluntary sector, blue light services, prison staff and prison listeners health and social care.  It was developed by a range of experts including experts by experience i.e. those people who have attempted to take their own lives and those bereaved and affected by suicide.

Two-thirds of people who take their own lives are not known to mental health services. Almost everyone thinking about suicide doesn’t want to stop living they just want to stop the pain and distress they are feeling.  Talking about suicide does not make someone more likely to take their own lives. Another person showing compassion and care can only make things better not worse.

The purpose of the programme is to support the ambition of reducing the stigma associated with suicide, to help everyone see that simply asking someone how they are and talking about suicide can really help. The programme supports learning and development in suicide competence at level one.

Suicide prevention e-learning briefing

The programme is based on four storylines of people who are at increased risk of dying by suicide.  During these four 4 video scenarios the learner will have the opportunity to reflect on their learning.  The learner will be able to complete the entire programme at once or complete at their own pace in smaller sections.

There is no formal assessment but the learner is encouraged to stop and reflect on the learning as they progress through the course and can print out a certificate on completion of the course as evidence of professional development. The programme takes approximately between 60-90 minutes to complete.

How might the programme be used?

  • As an introduction to suicide awareness and suicide prevention skills
  • To consolidate existing skills on suicide prevention
  • As part of an organisation’s induction process, reflecting a commitment to reducing death by suicide
  • For personal and professional development


Proposed target audience

  • Non-mental health practitioners
  • Anyone working with the public across a wide range of settings
  • Anyone in a volunteering role with contact with the public
  • Administrative and support staff in health and care across a range of settings such as primary care, acute and supported living settings
  • Administrative and support staff in other public sector settings such as local authorities and the voluntary sector
  • Public health/health promotion staff across all sectors including local authorities, NHS and primary care


The learning is specifically aimed at making sure that everyone in contact with the public, in whatever role, knows how to spot any signs of mental distress and feel comfortable in talking about suicide.

Talking about suicide can be used as a normal part of all our interactions at home, in the workplace and in the wider community.

Access Via ESR

You can access the package through the ESR NLMS portal. (If you havent registered yet – you will need the email from HRServices@SWAST.nhs.uk with your username and password,

and then go to https://my.esr.nhs.uk 

More info can be found on the SWAST ESR FAQ INTRANET page

When you log-in to ESR you will need to enrol on to the package from the Learner Homepage. You can do this by searching for the following course title:
000 Suicide Prevention – We need to talk about Suicide

Further information about how to navigate the ESR Learner Homepage can be found via the following link:


More details about the package are also captured in the ESR eLearning Catalogue: