Detailed Agenda

This agenda provides suggested timings for a two-hour session, the minimum time recommended for presenting the information and providing time for the activities. However, you may want more time to offer the training and could extend the session to two and a half or even three hours to allow more time for discussion, debriefs, and short breaks, and to give students lots of time to work through the scenarios at the end. Some facilitators may want to offer this training over two sessions. While the training is adaptable, we recommend that you include the sections on marginalized groups, as it is important to maintain the integrity of diversity of voice in this resource.

Content Time
Opening the Session

  • Welcome and Territory Acknowledgement
  • Introductions and Check-In
  • Goals and Objectives
  • Practical Information
  • Self-Care When Talking About Suicide
  • Group Guidelines
  • Reflection: Assessing Confidence
15 min
Why We Need to Talk About Suicide

  • Activity: Myths and Commonly Misunderstood Ideas
  • Looking at Statistics
  • Risk Factors and Protective Factors
  • Marginalized Groups
  • Activity: Discussion
15 min
Exploring Our Own Feelings About Suicide

  • Feelings and Attitudes
  • Activity: Questions and Worries
  • What We Need to Consider Before a Difficult Conversation
15 min
Observing and Recognizing the Signs

  • Signs That Someone Is Contemplating Suicide
  • Suicide and Self-Harm
10 min

  • What Does a Person in Distress Need?
  • How to Start the Conversation
  • Ask Directly and Clearly About Suicide
  • Consider the Risk
  • Responding Online
15 min

  • Asking About Supports and Suggesting Resources
  • Campus Resources and Provincial Crisis Lines
  • If You Are Concerned About a Student’s Immediate Safety
  • If You Are Unsure What to Do
  • What About Social Media?
  • Scenario Walk-Through
  • What Helps People Recover?
10 min
SHORT BREAK (Breathing exercise) 5 min
Maintaining Boundaries

  • Recognize What You Can and Can’t Do
  • Remember FAIR to Help Maintain Boundaries
  • Self-Care After a Difficult Conversation
5 min
Scenarios – Practising What to Say

  • Activity: Practice Scenarios (10 scenarios to choose from)
20 min
Closing the Session

  • Reassessing Your Confidence
  • Reflection, Questions, and Comments
  • Activity: Brainstorming Self-Care Ideas
10 min


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Starting a Conversation About Suicide: Foundational Training for Students Copyright © 2022 by Dawn Schell; Dagmar Devine; Jewell Gillies; Jenny Guild; Arica Hsu; Hamza Islam; Barbara Johnston; Calla Smith; and Liz Warwick is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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