• 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.

6,285 enrolled on this course

Understanding Suicide and Suicide Prevention Strategies in a Global Context

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.


  • Week 1

    Suicide In The Global Context And An Introduction To Risk And Stigma

    • Course Introduction

      You will be acquainted with the course team, the benefits of engaging with the course are outlined and the topic of suicide introduced.

    • Suicide Overview

      Top line figures relating to suicide are outlined, Michel describes his lived experience of a suicide attempt and our first target country Bulgaria is introduced.

    • Global Variations

      Global variations of suicide behaviours are summarised.

    • Cultural Considerations

      Explanations for international variations in suicide data are explored. In addition, Brazil and Japan are introduced as countries of interest, and you will have the opportunity to explore data sources for different countries.

    • Stigma

      The topic of stigma is introduced and its role in relation to mental health and suicide considered.

    • Week 1 Review

      A quiz and a reflective overview of the topics covered concludes the learning for this week.

  • Week 2

    Exploring Suicide Risk And Impact And The Role Of Stigma, Legislation And The Media

    • Risk Factors

      Socio-demographic risk factors for suicide, including substance misuse and mental health problems, are highlighted and we check in again with Michel who explains how he has adapted following his suicide attempt.

    • Impact of Suicide

      Here we explore the impacts of suicide at a personal and wider societal level. There is also another opportunity to consider how you could incorporate wellbeing activities into daily life.

    • Global Legality of Suicide

      The impact of decriminalising suicide is considered and the topic of assisted suicide introduced.

    • Stigma

      Consideration is given to how stigma is related to risk of suicide and personal experience of stigma outlined.

    • Safe Media Reporting

      Recommendations for the responsible media reporting of suicide are outlined.

    • Week 2 Review

      A quiz and a reflective overview of the topics covered concludes the learning for this week.

  • Week 3

    Suicide Prevention Both At A Local And Global Level

    • Disease Prevention

      We consider suicide in the context of disease prevention approaches and explore how health promotion is being engaged to tackle suicide.

    • Suicide Prevention

      The primary focus in this section is suicide prevention both at a local and global level. Illustrative examples are employed to demonstrate developments in this area.

    • Stigma

      Throughout the course the association between stigma and suicide has been considered. In this section global challenges to combat stigma are explored.

    • Week 3 Review

      As we conclude the course there is a quiz for you to complete, a final self-care activity and we provide an overview of the topics we have explored together.

When would you like to start?

Start straight away and learn at your own pace. If the course hasn’t started yet you’ll see the future date listed below.

  • Available now

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.

  • Established1451
  • LocationGlasgow, Scotland, UK
  • World rankingTop 70Source: QS World University Rankings 2020

Endorsed by

endorsed by

BPS logo

endorsed by

SRBL logo

endorsed by

Breathing Space logo

endorsed by

Samaritans logo

endorsed by

RCPSG logo

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