Becoming a Suicide Safer Community
Suicide is a complex and challenging issue. For many reasons suicide is often considered to be a taboo that can be difficult to talk about. As a compassionate, diverse and inclusive community, we are standing together to commit to developing a culture that supports us all to talk more openly about our mental health and wellbeing, and the challenges to our daily lives.
We commit to do more to be proactive, preventative and supportive. It is important that we all try, together.
We want to be open and transparent on how we are developing our approach to being a Suicide Safer University. This means being clear on the reality of suicide, the risks, the potential impacts and crucially, how, when and where you can access support.
How can I help?
As part of our commitment to a Suicide Safer University, we want to support all our students to manage their wellbeing and mental health challenges. We are committed to suicide prevention.
A really easy and meaningful way for you to help, is to take the free suicide prevention training offered by Zero Suicide Alliance.
This training only takes 20 minutes of your life, and could make a real difference to someone else’s.
R;pple browser extension
We have installed the R;pple browser extension onto all our University computers. R;pple recognises if a person searches for harmful keywords or phrases related to the topic of self-harm or suicide and provides signposting to 24/7 free mental health support at a time when people are most vulnerable. No data or personally identifiable information is captured by the extension – find out more on our FAQs below. The R;pple team developed the content of the messaging and resources in collaboration with mental health clinicians, professionals, NHS representatives, lived experience panels and the public. R;pple is also available to add to your own non-University browsers, on Google Chrome and Microsoft Edge.
For more information about R;pple
Why are we doing this?
Following on from World Suicide Prevention Day on 10 September, we want to support our staff and student community to manage their wellbeing and mental health challenges and continue to be committed to suicide prevention.
What is it?
Ripple Suicide Prevention are a charity who have developed a browser extension (R;pple) for computers to provide more help and support to individuals who are conducting searches related to self-harm or suicide.
R;pple works via key words. So if someone searches online for something relating to self-harm or suicide, Ripple will be presented to them, providing a message of hope and a selection of mental health resources to choose from.
As part of our wider commitment as a Suicide Safer University we will be the first Midlands university to implement R;pple across our university devices.
What do I have to do?
R;pple is enabled on all University PCs and laptops for students and staff. There is no need to download or install anything.
What due diligence have we done?
Student and Academic Services, IT Services and Information Assurance have completed a security assessment on the R;pple tool to ensure is does not store any data or personally identifiable information and ensure it complies with our various policies.
Does R;pple track and monitor me?
R;pple does not track or monitor anything to do with a user. The only information presented is the number of times R;pple has been activated and the number of clicks through to mental health support services. R;pple does not capture any personally identifiable information.
Can you give an example of something else like this tool?
If you go onto Google and type in something to do with self-harm or suicide, the Samaritans number will appear. R;pple works in exactly the same way as this, but instead of providing one option, it appears in a more visual box with a message of hope and a selection of mental health options for people to choose from.
Does R;pple have a data privacy statement?
Yes – you can find R;pple’s data privacy statement on their website.
Who do I contact about the service?
If you have any issues or concerns, contact the student wellbeing team. A dedicated email address is available email@example.com.
It is important to acknowledge that mental illness, suicidal thoughts, suicide attempts and self-harm are all real issues for young people. Suicide is the leading cause of death in people aged 20 to 34 in the UK - but it can affect people of any age.
Suicides are devastating for friends and family and have a profound impact on our wider University community of students and staff.
Exposure to suicide
Evidence has shown that exposure to a death by suicide may trigger suicidal thoughts and behaviours in vulnerable people. This is called 'contagion' and can lead to a cluster of suicides in a particular area or within a group. This is why it is imperative that any death by suicide needs to be reported and managed sensitively, to limit distress, and reduce the risk of contagion.
We work in collaboration with our local partnerships (specialist services, NHS, public health and the police) where there is any suspected death by suicide to ensure support is offered and available at the earliest opportunity to anyone who may be impacted.
Our approach when dealing with a suicide or suspected suicide
A suspected or confirmed suicide of a close friend or family member can put a vulnerable person at risk. This is why we will reach out to the close contacts, friends and family of the person who has died first.
Our priority is to offer them support, as soon as possible, to help them deal with their feelings. One of our challenges is that we do not always know who was close to a student and working this out can take time.
We will always work with those closest to the person who has died, for advice on what we say, when and to whom.
We follow the Samaritans' advice in these difficult circumstances.
We also acknowledge that suicide can impact us all, in a range of ways, sometimes regardless of how well we may have known the individual who has died. Support options will also be communicated to the wider community, to ensure that appropriate support can be accessed.
Many of those who take their own lives have not felt able to ask for help.
You are not alone.
If you, a friend or someone you know is experiencing suicidal thoughts, talk to someone, let them know what is going on and ask for help.