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Student Support


If you or someone else is in crisis, please go to our Crisis Support and Information webpage.

We want Cambridge to be a community in which people are not afraid to reach out to each other and have supportive conversations. This might feel daunting when you are concerned that someone is thinking about suicide. However, research tells us that asking supportively and directly about suicide, listening and offering guidance to professional help, can save a life. Everyone can take these steps safely and effectively by understanding how to:

  1. Recognise possible signs that someone might be at risk of suicide
    • social isolation
    • talking about hopelessness or suicide
    • previous suicide attempts
    • past suicide bereavement
    • drugs or alcohol misuse
  2. Start a conversation to discuss suicide in a supportive and safe way. Mention the signs you’ve noticed and that you care about them. If you are concerned, ask them if they are thinking about suicide. Listen supportively. 
  3. Find the right support. Be aware of local support options, and how to connect someone to them.

Be realistic about your limits

When someone says they are feeling suicidal, are in crisis or have plans to end their life, you should always seek professional support urgently.

  • Our crisis support and information is available for such circumstances, including NHS emergency services.
  • You can help by simply listening and responding – but it is important not to take it all on yourself.
  • Let someone know if there are areas you find it distressing to hear or talk about. Be clear about your limitations and let them know that there are professionals who can help.
  • If they are at immediate risk of harm, it’s important to be clear that you can’t hold that knowledge alone. Let them know that to help keep them safe and to access support, you’ll need to bring in some help. Normally this will be NHS emergency services, and you can ask if they have a trusted contact they’d like any help with getting in touch with.
  • When someone is in crisis, it will be helpful for a person (ideally a member of staff/guardian) to stay with the person until professional help arrives.

Suicide awareness: online training in having conversations

If you would like some more support or guidance in recognising signs and having conversations about suicide, this online training has been created by Zero Suicide Alliance, an NHS charity hosted by Mersey Care NHS Foundation Trust. It takes approximately 20-25 minutes to complete.

You may find the subject matter of this training upsetting, particularly if you have lost someone to suicide. You may wish to have someone nearby while doing the training. If you are a student, support is available on the Student Support website.

Other resources and FAQs

Who can I call for help if another student tells me they are feeling suicidal?
Crisis Support and Information
How can I respond when I'm with someone who tells me they are feeling suicidal?
This leaflet on helping someone who may be experiencing suicidal thoughts offers advice on how to help safely and supportively. It has been designed by the charity Cambridgeshire, Peterborough and South Lincolnshire (CPSL) Mind and is supported by local NHS and public health teams.
My friend/a student is safe and not currently at risk of harm, but they need some support. Where can they go?
There are lots of sources of support available to students at Cambridge, whether it is provided by their College, the University, the NHS or other local services.


The Centre for Clinical Interventions: The CCI has resources for a wide range of mental health problems, including anxiety, bipolar, body dysmorphia, depression, disordered eating, health anxiety, panic, perfectionism, procrastination, self-compassion, self-esteem, sleep, social anxiety and worry.

Coping with suicidal thoughts (CPSL Mind): Cambridgeshire, Peterborough and South Lincolnshire (CPSL) Mind has designed this resource on coping with suicidal thoughts.

DistrACT: The DistrACT app provides information and links to support for people who self-harm or who may have suicidal thoughts.

Stay Alive app (NHS): A suicide prevention resource with useful information and tools to help with staying safe in crisis. The app includes a personalised safety plan, a Lifebox for photos and memories, strategies for grounding and guided breathing exercises, an interactive wellness plan and customisable crisis resources.

Contact the Student Support Services