All Queen Mary Students' Union staff should undertake suicide awareness training

Date embedded: October 2025

Liberation - inclusion - accessibilitywelfare

Date embedded: October 2025

Status: Complete

CONTENT WARNING

The following motion discusses issues related to suicide

Proposed by: Jack Juckes (QMSU Vice President Welfare)
Seconded by: Shamima Akter (QMSU President), Tiana Dinard-Samuel (QMSU Vice President Communities), Aphrodite Murray-Liddington (QMSU Vice President Science & Engineering), Cameron Storey (QMSU Vice President Humanities & Social Sciences), Mathew Robathan (BLSA President and QMSU Vice President Barts and The London)

 

What do you want?

This policy would require all Students’ Union staff to undertake mandatory suicide awareness training. This would be in the form of the free training available from the Zero Suicide Alliance (ZSA)12. There are two online modules that staff would be required to complete:

  1. 'Social Isolation Module' - “gives a brief introduction to social isolation, and how to help someone who may be isolated. This module covers adjusting to the new normal following the Coronavirus, and takes into account the significant changes in how many of us live and work.” – This module takes 5-10 minutes to complete.
  2. 'ZSA Suicide Awareness Training' - “An in-depth suicide awareness training session which aims to give you the skills and confidence to help someone who may be considering suicide. It focuses on breaking stigma and encouraging open conversations.” – This module takes around 20 minutes to complete.

Please note that there is an intermediate module available called ‘Gateway Module’, an introductory shorter version of the full ZSA Suicide Awareness Training, which takes 5-10 minutes to complete. As this is a shorter version of the full module, it would be unnecessary for staff to complete both the Gateway Module and the full module. However, if there will be a significant delay in staff being able to complete the full training module, then they should be complete the Gateway Module in the interim until they are able to complete the full module. This flexibility will allow for issues like workload variation, staff shortages etc.

If staff have previously completed this training, or a similar equivalent, they do not need to complete again.

 

Why do you want it?

Mental health is an important issue under normal circumstances, but particularly right now in the current Covid-19 pandemic. Students are increasingly struggling with mental health problems – a recent survey by NUS found that 52% of students reported worsening of their mental health since the pandemic began, and only 29% of these students had sought help2. For many, suicide is a difficult and uncomfortable topic to talk about, but being able to have these conversations can make a huge difference to those at risk. It is important that QMSU staff are equipped with the skills and confidence to talk openly about suicide as and when needed.

 

What Impact will this have?

QMSU staff will be more confident and able to have conversations about suicide with any student or other member of staff they may feel is at risk, and direct them to the support they need and deserve. This will help to prevent the occurrence of suicide and improve the mental health of our Queen Mary community. There will also be minimal financial impact on the Students’ Union as these training sessions are free to access (so no outright cost) and are short in length (so will take minimal paid staff time).

 

References

1https://www.zerosuicidealliance.com/training

2https://www.nus.org.uk/articles/over-half-of-students-mental-health-is-worse-than-before-the-pandemic

 

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