• University of Glasgow

Understanding Suicide and Suicide Prevention Strategies in a Global Context

Develop an understanding of suicide in a global context. Learn about suicide risk factors and ways to help prevent it.

9,381 enrolled on this course

the globe cradled in a pair of hands
  • Duration

    3 weeks
  • Weekly study

    4 hours

Recognise suicide risk and optimise prevention worldwide

Suicide is preventable, yet it is estimated that a person dies by suicide every 40 seconds somewhere in the world. This equates to over 800,000 people dying by suicide worldwide each year.

On this course, you will gain a broader understanding of suicide as a worldwide issue. You will analyse global suicide rates and patterns and explore common risk factors. You will explore the social and cultural factors that can influence suicidal behaviour. You will also look at suicide prevention strategies and learn how these can be enforced in communities.

Skip to 0 minutes and 12 seconds JULIE LANGAN MARTIN: Suicide is a global problem that can affect anyone at any time. Despite being preventable, it is estimated that a person dies by suicide every 40 seconds somewhere in the world. This means that more than 800,000 people die by suicide worldwide every year. But even now, suicide remains a subject that most people find difficult to talk about. While the media covers high profile international cases, public discussion of suicide and its causes is still too rare. However, suicide is something that can be prevented. And with this in mind, we’ve worked with experts in the field and people with lived experience to develop this unique course to explore suicide prevention in the global context.

Skip to 0 minutes and 55 seconds This online course aims to give you confidence when exploring the topic of suicide or when supporting vulnerable individuals. Through videos, texts, quizzes, and case studies we’ll explore some of the trends that can be identified, which may place individuals at higher risk of suicidal behaviours. We’ll also focus on approaches that can be taken to minimise the risk of losing people as a result of suicide. We’ll consider why suicide rates tend to be higher among groups who may experience prejudice or discrimination. And we’ll explore the scale of suicide, both from a local and global perspective, to help you understand why the World Health Organisation has a target to reduce global suicide rates. We’ll highlight the links between stigma and suicide risk.

Skip to 1 minute and 42 seconds And you’ll learn about the progress that’s been made in suicide prevention, research, policy, and practise. This course, which has been endorsed by the Samaritans, Breathing Space, and the British Psychological Society, will set you apart from your colleagues, providing you with extra knowledge of suicide prevention in the global context. Completing this course will give you the confidence to broach the subject of suicide. And it can be used as evidence for continued professional development. So join us now in a bid to reduce suicide rates across the world.

What topics will you cover?

  • Definitions of suicide and self-harm
  • Risk factors for suicide with consideration of mental illness and substance misuse
  • Global suicide rates: issues and variations with international data
  • Legality of suicide
  • Stigma experiences related to suicide
  • The impact of suicide
  • Media reporting of suicide
  • Health promotion and suicide prevention

When would you like to start?

  • Date to be announced

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Learning on this course

On every step of the course you can meet other learners, share your ideas and join in with active discussions in the comments.

What will you achieve?

By the end of the course, you‘ll be able to...

  • Explain some of the risk factors for suicide in the global context
  • Reflect on the impact of suicide at a personal and societal level
  • Produce examples of different strategies used to try and reduce the risk of suicide
  • Explore the role of stigma in the context of suicide

Who is the course for?

This multi-agency endorsed course is for all healthcare professionals, including both medical and allied health professionals, who are looking to enhance their understanding of suicide as a global mental health issue. Anyone interested in health research may also be interested in this course.

The Certificate of Achievement for this course may be useful for providing evidence of continuing professional development (CPD), or commitment to your career.

This course is an educational resource, it is not a therapeutic tool. If you are feeling distressed, in a state of despair or suicidal, it’s important to tell someone. Visit the International Association for Suicide Prevention to find Crisis Centres around the world. We do not provide a treatment service or advice for those in crisis.

Please note that comments on this course have been disabled

What do people say about this course?


"A very intelligently researched and presented course. I learned that it can be helpful to raise the subject of suicide in a compassionate manner."


"Understanding suicide and suicidal behaviour is a key part of suicide prevention. "

Who will you learn with?

Laura is a Senior Lecturer in the Digital Education team in Medical Veterinary & Life Sciences (MVLS), who works with the Global Mental Health MSc team supporting distance learning.

Julie is a Senior Clinical Lecturer and Honorary Consultant Psychiatrist. She is the Director of the Global Mental Health MSc in the Institute of Health and Wellbeing, at the University of Glasgow.

Who developed the course?

The University of Glasgow

Founded in 1451, the University of Glasgow is the fourth oldest university in the English-speaking world. It is a member of the prestigious Russell Group of leading UK research universities.

  • Established

  • Location

    Glasgow, Scotland, UK
  • World ranking

    Top 70Source: QS World University Rankings 2020

Endorsers and supporters

endorsed by

BPS logo

endorsed by

SRBL logo

endorsed by

Breathing Space logo

endorsed by

Samaritans logo

endorsed by

RCPSG logo

Learning on FutureLearn

Your learning, your rules

  • Courses are split into weeks, activities, and steps to help you keep track of your learning
  • Learn through a mix of bite-sized videos, long- and short-form articles, audio, and practical activities
  • Stay motivated by using the Progress page to keep track of your step completion and assessment scores

Join a global classroom

  • Experience the power of social learning, and get inspired by an international network of learners
  • Share ideas with your peers and course educators on every step of the course
  • Join the conversation by reading, @ing, liking, bookmarking, and replying to comments from others

Map your progress

  • As you work through the course, use notifications and the Progress page to guide your learning
  • Whenever you’re ready, mark each step as complete, you’re in control
  • Complete 90% of course steps and all of the assessments to earn your certificate

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