How to Access the Facilitator’s Guide, Slides, and Handouts

Starting a Conversation About Suicide: Foundational Training for Students includes a facilitator’s guide, an accompanying PowerPoint slide deck, BCcampus, Starting a Conversation About Suicide [PPTX] and handouts to share with participants.

Four handouts are available to download:

You may also want to bookmark (and have ready to play in a browser) these two videos before offering a session:

Starting a Conversation About Suicide: Foundational Training for Students was developed as part of BCcampus’s Mental Health and Wellness Projects to provide open educational resources to increase awareness of mental health and support for post-secondary students. This training session is one of a series of open educational resources on mental health available for the B.C. post-secondary sector.

This training was developed with funding from the Ministry of Advanced Education and Skills Training and guidance from an advisory group of students, staff, and faculty from B.C. post-secondary institutions.

How to Use This Resource

This resource is for facilitators presenting a two- to three-hour session to students at post-secondary institutions. The training can be offered in person or online, and you are welcome to augment the training with your own stories, models, and examples.

The resource includes three components:

  • Facilitator’s guide. The guide includes presentation notes, activities, and scenarios to help you deliver the training. You can download the guide as a PDF file before giving a session. The guide also has a Getting Ready section, with suggestions for preparing, adapting, and modifying the training.
  • Slide deck. The guide has an accompanying PowerPoint slide deck that you can download. The slides can be formatted to meet your institution’s guidelines or slide deck templates. You can add slides or include contact information for counselling services, campus helplines, Indigenous student centres, and other services on your campus that support students.
  • Handouts. The guide includes handouts that you can share with participants. You can format these handouts according to your institution’s guidelines (e.g., colours, fonts, logos). You can also adapt the information in them to reflect the needs and concerns of the group you are addressing.

Who Should Facilitate This Training?

Facilitators should have presentation and facilitation experience and be familiar with trauma-informed practice. They should be patient, comfortable with talking about mental health and suicide, and open to learning. It is recommended that sessions be presented either by two facilitators or by one facilitator with an assistant to help any participants who may become overwhelmed during the session. (See Guidelines and Tips for Facilitation for more information.)

Who Is This Training For?

Many of the students who are interested in this training will be in leadership roles (e.g., residence assistants, peer group leaders, and teaching assistants), but the session is intended for any student who is interested in learning more about mental health and working to build an inclusive and resilient community at their post-secondary institution.

Length of the Session

For a breakdown of the session, see the Detailed Agenda. The agenda assumes that you will offer the training over the course of two hours; however, you may want more time and could extend the session to two and a half or even three hours to allow time for more discussion and to give students lots of time to work through the scenarios at the end. Some facilitators may want to offer the 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 and diversity of voice in this resource.

Creative Commons License

This training is an open educational resource and licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, unless otherwise indicated. This means you may retain, reuse, revise, remix, and redistribute this resource without permission. If you revise or remix the resource, it is important to include both the copyright holder of the original resource and the authors of this adapted version.

Attribution Statement

Starting a Conversation about Suicide: Foundational Training for Students is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

Why Mental Health and Wellness Training for Students?

Suicide is very difficult to talk about and a subject many of us would prefer to avoid, but it is also a subject we can’t ignore. Suicide is a prevalent concern around the world and the second leading cause of death among 15- to 29-year-olds globally.[1] Post-secondary institutions have an important role to play in raising awareness about suicide and finding ways to best support students. We need to have more conversations about suicide to raise awareness and understanding of how we can support someone who is contemplating suicide.

Starting a Conversation about Suicide: Foundational Training for Students offers sensitive, respectful, and detailed training on suicide awareness. The training was developed to reduce the stigma around suicide and to help students acquire the skills and confidence to ask if someone they know is considering suicide, listen to that person in a non-judgmental way, and refer them to appropriate resources. These conversations are not easy and they are never comfortable, but we can all increase our confidence and develop skills to support others.

  1. World Health Organization (2019), Suicide [fact sheet],


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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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