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Developing Undergraduate and Pre-registration Learning for the Prevention of Suicide and Self-harm


The prevention of suicide and self-harm continues to be a major public health and community challenge and is a high priority in Wales, as well as across the UK. In 2022, 339 suicides deaths were registered for Wales (Office National Statistics).

In 2023 a national multi-agency survey of training needs in Wales identified significant gaps in training among professionals regularly encountering individuals affected by suicide and self-harm. The survey found that nearly a third of respondents hadn’t received any training in the prevention of suicide and self-harm and one in five respondents reported that they were not confident in responding appropriately to people affected by suicide and self-harm.

To help address these concerns NHS Wales Executive has engaged Skills for Health to work with key stakeholders to develop an innovative and comprehensive set of learning standards, and supporting materials describing the areas of knowledge, skills, and behaviours that require development to successfully support suicide and self-harm prevention. The learning and products will be of value for pre-registration and undergraduate students in health and care, NHS and care staff and their managers, higher education institutions, and other training providers.

Purpose and objectives

The main purpose of the work is to provide undergraduate students in health and social care programmes an understanding of the areas of learning that will prepare them once registered for practice in their future work around suicide and self-harm prevention. The aim is for registered professionals to have the confidence to engage with at-risk individuals, communicate effectively with them, and provide appropriate support or signposting to try and reduce further deaths by suicide and reduce self-harm in individuals.

The resulting framework will set out a consistent and clearly described learning that is evidence-based and can be embedded or applied across a range of under-graduate and pre-registration health and social care programmes including nursing, medicine, allied health professions, paramedicine, social work, and potentially more widely e.g.: policing degrees.

Although the scope of the work will be for Wales, we particularly welcome interest from across the UK as the resulting learning and materials for the prevention of suicide and self-harm will be transferable.

Development of the learning

Skills for Health will lead the development process in collaboration with a diverse Expert Reference Group (ERG) including representatives from health, social care, higher education, the third sector, and people with lived experience. This multi-professional and multi-sector approach ensures a comprehensive and inclusive development process incorporating diverse perspectives and experience to create effective learning and supporting materials.

Stay up to date

If you wish to receive updates on this important work and be directly notified when the framework has been launched, register below.