Understanding and Working With Suicidal People

This workshop will benefit a range of practitioners, including social and welfare workers, medical professionals and counsellors

Aims and Objectives


Our work involves helping clients with difficult problems and a variety of emotions, thoughts and behaviours. Sometimes this can feel quite overwhelming, and it may difficult to know what to say or what to do. This can especially be difficult when working with someone who is expressing suicidal thoughts, feelings or intent.  It can leave many of us holding unwelcome emotions such as fear, worry and distress.


Having an understanding of what may be going on for the individual, as well as knowing how best to respond can help us to feel less powerless and be in a better position to assist.

The workshop will cover the following:

  • Enable a better understanding of suicide and associated thoughts, feelings and behaviour.

  • Introduction to understanding some of the social factors associated with suicide.  For example, is there more of a risk in a society that promotes individualism compared to one that is more community oriented?

  • Men are over 3 times more likely to end their life than women.  We will consider some of the factors responsible, and discuss how we may better support male clients.

  • Assess risks / suicidal intent.

  • How we might interact with individuals who are expressing suicidal thoughts and feelings?


  • What thoughts and feelings do we workers have about working with suicidal clients?  How might we support ourselves?


  • What are some of the ethical considerations?


  • What safeguarding procedures do workers need to follow within your organisation if there are concerns?


  • The course takes into consideration the best practice as outlined in NICE (National Institute for Health and Care Excellence).


The workshop incorporates a PowerPoint presentation and will also include group work, discussion and videos.


The complimentary workbook, which follows the work of the day, can be used independently of the workshop. It is designed to be transferable wherever you may work, and can act as a revision tool in the future.


The final section can be adapted to suit the needs of your organisation. For example, it can contain a prescribed procedure that workers should follow if they are concerned about their client's safety. This may include names or telephone numbers of any individual that would need to be contacted, and also detailed information of how a concern is documented or followed up.