top of page
Image by Gian Reichmuth

The SEJ Suicide Prevention Programme

This programme, which we have named 'Two Suicides too Many' stemmed from:

1. A conversation with Dr. Kishi Head of SEJ Research at Kingston University about suicide and two of her students.

2. Students seeking the SEJ instead of the setting's support.

3. A student's feedback after learning the SEJ. 


Firstly, Dr Kishi shared with us her experience of two student suicides, how she wished she could of helped them, that it was 'two suicides too many', and how the SEJ had supported her as an educator during this time, as well as in her pastoral role. She felt she was ill equipped to help herself or her students, so she turned to the SEJ. After initially learning the SEJ Process independent of the setting she soon came to see how it would also benefit her students.


Dr. Kishi then started using the SEJ with her students, their reasons for asking Dr. Kishi for support were many and varied: from exam stress, relationship concerns, to money worries, but before long she was being approached by those who had either attempted suicide or had suicidal thoughts. She had no training in this area, and because the students would not or could not, get the appropriate support from the setting she informed them of the SEJ Consultants they could speak to, and that indeed the originator of the SEJ had personal experience in this area.

At that time there was no SEJ Consultant onsite so these students were referred to the SEJ organisation and they paid privately for an SEJ consultation. The question has to be asked why did these students not seek the free support offered by the university?

The reasons ranged from not being able to access support, waiting lists too long, not wanting to ask for help for fear of repercussions, the stigma and not being heard.

We then noticed that not only were students seeking external private intervention from the SEJ organisation (now 'Stay Mentally Healthy'), but once it was integrated into the curriculum, additional students were turning up to the lessons to learn the SEJ because other students had told them about it, that it would 'help them' even though it was not their class to attend! Have you ever heard anything like it? Students voluntarily turning up to a class when it wasn't even their class to attend? What does this tell us? Student's want to feel empowered, to be able to find their own solutions to problems, to be equipped with the tools to stay mentally healthy. Also, that there are student's clearly not accessing the support currently offered, they are looking elsewhere, they are looking at the SEJ.

Another student said after learning the SEJ that it was not an appropriate response to them having made the statement to the setting that they were feeling suicidal. This tells us that if a student is really struggling we need to offer more than the curriculum based learning of the SEJ, that sometimes 1-1 help is a more appropriate response if the need is urgent.


When a person feels suicidal they do not always feel they are the best person to help themselves, although the SEJ does this as a self empowerment process, the question is where does the SEJ fit when a student is thinking of taking their own life? It fits better as a 1-1 consultation. Equally learning the process gives the students the tools to recover faster as well as equipping them with the tools needed to stay mentally healthy in the future.

One of the main issues for students who are having suicidal thoughts is they don't feel they can openly speak about their suicidal thoughts and feelings. They are often apprehensive or even afraid of speaking with any of the services offered by the university in connection to any mental health issue, but in particular feeling suicidal. It is not an easy statement to make or conversation to have. Dr Kishi in her experience has seen that students won't approach the setting's on site services and wellbeing advisors as they don't know the person that they are speaking to. They are more likely to speak to an educator as they have developed a relationship with them. However, the educators themselves do not know what to say and simply refer back to the setting's services.

Our aim is to address this issue, to support students in letting them know there is a named person (SEJ Consultant) that they can speak to if feeling suicidal or having suicidal thoughts. That because they are the named person they will not be 'shocked' or 'surprised' to hear a student share this with them, this enables the student to feel safe when approaching the SEJ Consultant. 

Our aim is to take the success of this programme into every educational setting and will include the following 4 aspects:

1. To make it easier for students to say 'I feel suicidal' to remove the taboo and fear of sharing how they feel through having a named person onsite -  SEJ Consultant.

2. To integrate the SEJ into the curriculum, so that all students can learn the SEJ Process and 'stay mentally healthy'.


3. To train a key person onsite at every educational setting to become a SEJ Consultant. The SEJ Consultant will not only be able to support students with their use of the SEJ process as a prevention, but also as part of the intervention and aftercare. Because the SEJ Consultant is not directly linked to the setting the students will feel less apprehensive about seeking support, at the same time the Consultant is able to make the appropriate referrals.

4.To ensure the SEJ is available for all of the setting's community, so staff, educators, families can also learn the SEJ in support of their own mental health and that of our students providing a truly holistic approach.

bottom of page