It’s that time of year when things start to get a bit heavier – it’s colder, darker earlier, our students are back into the swing of studies and many in our community are facing new situations.

Throughout October 2021, staff and students from our Mental Health Nursing team in the School of Health Sciences are sharing series of blog posts covering important mental health topics. The first post in the series from Emma Lamont, Lecturer in the School, about suicide prevention.

The words ‘suicide is preventable right up until the very last moment’ (Rory O’ Connor 2020) are some of the most important we can know about suicide. This means that even if a person is intent on suicide, we can still save their life. In 2020 there were 805 people who died by suicide, 575 males and 230 females. Suicide is the leading cause of death in men under the age of 45, and of young people in the UK. We know there are many reasons why a person might experience suicide thoughts, however feeling alone or trapped in a situation with no sense of obvious solution or way out can lead to crisis point. This often shows itself as anxiety, panic, or dissociation, or may also mean a person experiences thoughts of self-harm or suicide.

“… it is vital we have people and communities who are talking about suicide, challenging myths, and stigma, increasing understanding about suicide and what resources are available to support people.”

Emma Lamont

It is time to change public attitudes about suicide and reduce the stigma which stops people from reaching out for help. Friends, family, work colleagues, neighbours and networks of community organisations have an important part to play in saving lives. By raising awareness and building networks we can enable people practically to do something about preventing suicide. We can all offer support to someone experiencing suicide thoughts and knowing how you can help will build confidence to intervene in real life moments. We know that being able to talk through thoughts and feelings and know somebody cares can keep a person safe, bring hope, and help them through their crisis. Suicide prevention is everybody’s business therefore it is vital we have people and communities who are talking about suicide, challenging myths, and stigma, increasing understanding about suicide and what resources are available to support people.

For more information: ‘Supporting a person at risk of suicide’ is a learning byte developed by NHS Education for Scotland for individuals who are in contact with people who may be at risk of distress, crisis, or suicide. These can be used as an individual learning resource or in a group/ workshop process by local community groups or organisations.

If you experience distress or need someone to talk to, please contact the Samaritans.

Get help with mental health:

Counselling Service
The Counselling Service offers short-term counselling to current Dundee University students and staff. 

We have a team of counsellors with a wide variety of backgrounds and experience, and our sessions are free. 

Counselling provides a safe space for you to talk about your issues or concerns. Our sessions are friendly, supportive and confidential. It’s healthier to explore it with an experienced counsellor than bottle it up and never see an improvement. And if we can’t help you, we’ll let you know and we may also suggest other sources of help. 

University guide
Around one in four people will experience a mental health difficulty at some point, so it’s possible that some students and staff will experience this while at university.

Mental health issues vary hugely from person to person so what works for someone else may not work for you. You may be able to help yourself through a change in behaviour, or it may be helpful to get support from a trained professional. Visit the University’s online guide for getting help with your mental health.