Supporting suicidal and severely distressed students

Supporting suicidal and severely distressed students 

The aim of this training is to help the participants to assess the risk of suicide in students and colleagues and provide them with safe and reliable intervention. The training course will use the University of Malta “Supporting suicidal and/or severely distressed students” staff guidelines. The course is interactive and the training entail a variety of teaching styles and tools. Each participant will receive relevant material and a certificate of attendance.

Trainers: Qualified trainers from Richmond Foundation
Target Audience: Members of staff identified by the Office for Human Resources Management & Development. The maximum capacity for this course is of 15 participants.
Course duration: 3 hours 

By the end of the course the participants will:
  • be aware of the main signs of suicide and distress;
  • make accurate assessment of the risk of suicide;
  • be able to talk with suicidal students and direct for help.
  • become more aware of the myths related to suicide;

Topics covered:

  • Myths and facts about suicide
    • Major myths around suicide
    • Current situation in Malta and the EU
  • Risk factors
    • Main risk factors for suicide in university students
    • Spotting a suicidal student or colleague
  • Talking about suicide
    • Starting a difficult conversation and using the right questions
    • Assessing the level of risk
    • Creating a safety plan
  • Directing for help
    • Offering help based on the level of emergency
  • Self-care in post-crisis


Follow-up workshop: Empowering severely distressed students to seek professional help 

Trainers: Dr Marta Sant and Ms Charmaine Mifsud Cardona
Target Audience: Members of staff who have already completed the course "Supporting Suicidal and severely disressed students".
Course duration: 3 hours  


This training workshop is designed as a follow-up of the training offered by Richmond Foundation: Supporting suicidal and severely distressed students. The aim of this training is to support staff by providing them with useful basic interpersonal skills, such as the use of active listening skills to support severely distressed students. It mainly focusses on skills of how to engage and attend to a student in distress whilst guiding them to seek professional help. A distinction is made between a crisis intervention in an emergency situation where there is imminent risk of suicide and a situation where one is concerned about a student’s wellbeing but is not a crisis.

The training shall be divided into two main parts. The first part will entail a brief overview of the staff guidelines booklet provided by the University of Malta – Supporting suicidal and/or severely distressed students, which will be delivered by Dr Marta Sant. Participants will have some time for a brief Q&A session with Dr Sant, who has developed these guidelines. The second part of the session will be delivered in the form of a presentation on how to empower students to seek professional help by Ms Charmaine Mifsud Cardona.