Self-harm and suicide prevention frameworks

Health Education England (HEE) and the National Collaborating Centre for Mental Health (NCCMH) have launched a series of self-harm and suicide prevention frameworks.

The competency frameworks describe activities that need to be brought together to support people who self-harm and/or are suicidal.

The frameworks, which have a range of applications, overlap in terms of their content, but help describe the work that is required within different populations and contexts.

Working with children and young people Working with adults and older people
Working with the public Service users and carers


Suicide-Safer Universities

Universities UK and PAPYRUS, the UK’s national charity dedicated to the prevention of young suicide, have published guidance to help university leaders prevent student suicides. At least 95 university students took their own lives in the 2016–17 academic year. 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 you can take to make your community suicide-safer

Suicide-Safer Universities

NICE Guidelines: Preventing suicide in community and custodial settings

Public Health England worked alongside the National Institute for Clinical Excellence (NICE) to launch NICE’s new guidelines for suicide prevention in community and custodial settings. The guidelines cover ways to reduce suicide and help people bereaved or affected by suicide. It aims to:

  • help local services work more effectively together to prevent suicide
  • identify and help people at risk
  • prevent suicide in places where it is currently more likely.

Preventing Suicide in Community and Custodial Settings 

Samaritans media guidelines for reporting suicide

In August 2020, Samaritans launched the sixth edition of their media guidelines to incorporate the latest research on the impact of reported suicides in the media on suicide rates. On average, more than 6,000 individuals take their own lives by suicide each year across the United Kingdom (UK) and Republic of Ireland (ROI). Some of these deaths attract media attention. Suicide is a complex topic and presents a distinct set of challenges for the journalists who report on it. They have to balance a range of factors including what is in the public interest and the risk of encouraging imitative behaviour. At the same time they must guard against intrusion into the grief and shock of the bereaved while considering industry regulation and codes of practice. In  addition to their media guidelines, there is also a catalogue of other resources to support the highest standards of coverage of suicide.

Media guides for reporting suicide Range of other guidelines and tips
Other Guidelines include:

  • Suicide facts for journalists
  • 10 top tips for reporting suicide
  • Guidance for covering youth suicides, clusters and self harm
  • Guidance for reporting rail suicides
  • Guidance for reporting on inquests for England, Wales and Ireland
  • Guidance for working with people bereaved by suicide
  • Guidance for reporting on murder suicides
  • Guidance for portrayals of suicide and self harm in drama
  • Guidance for depictions of suicide and self harm in literature


Building Suicide-Safer Schools and Colleges

PAPYRUS has developed a guide to support teachers and school staff in building suicide-safer schools. The guide, which is downloadable on their webpage, provides school staff with an understanding of the most effective strategies to implement to create a suicide-safer environment. The material in the guide is designed for secondary school and college teachers and staff, but can be adapted for younger children too.

Building Suicide-Safer Schools and Colleges – downloadable for free on the PAPYRUS website

Suicide postvention toolkit for workplaces

Business in the Community has partnered with Public Health England to produce an online interconnected suite of toolkits to help every organisation support the mental and physical health and wellbeing of its employees. They are designed to help employers take positive actions to build a culture that champions good mental and physical health and provide a greater understanding of how to help those who need more support.


Suicide postvention toolkit