Training forms a significant part of preventing suicides in Scotland. By training a proportion of the population, more skilled and confident helpers will be available to explore thoughts of suicide and intervene.

The National Suicide Prevention Programme offers tiered suicide prevention training covering

  • initial awareness
  • exploration of suicide and suicidal ideation
  • suicide first aid intervention skills.

Courses are organised and delivered at a local level by qualified trainers.


Awareness raising animations

NHS Health Scotland and NHS Education for Scotland (NES) jointly developed a series of animations.

The animations highlight the range of communication skills that should be used including listening, questioning and responding. They also provides information on how to get immediate help and support.

They’re aimed at staff in all sectors – including NHS, health and social care employees, and local authority employees.

There are 3 animations



suicideTALK is a short exploration and awareness raising session. It is aimed at all members and groups within communities.

The session is practice oriented and allows open and honest dialogue for anyone interested in attending. It lasts between one and three hours with content adapted to the needs of the group.

suicideTALK provides a solid foundation for suicide prevention by dispelling the myth that talking about suicide promotes suicidal behaviour. It aims to reduce stigma around suicide and promote awareness within the community.


safeTALK is intended as suicide alertness training. It teaches you to recognise people with thoughts of suicide and to connect them to suicide intervention resources. safeTALK prepares participants to activate a suicide alert by following the TALK (Tell, Ask, Listen and KeepSafe) steps.

The course is designed for communities or organisations that already have ASIST trained helpers in place to maximise intervention as the main suicide prevention focus.

safeTALK is a half-day session. It is taught by one trainer with groups of up to 30 participants. It complements ASIST and other intervention training courses.

Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training (ASIST)

ASIST is intended as 'suicide first-aid' training. It is a two-day practical workshop developing skills through observation and supervised simulation in large and small groups.

ASIST aims to enable helpers (anyone in a position of trust) to become more willing, ready and able to recognise and intervene effectively to help persons at risk of suicide.

More information on training

For further information on any of the courses listed above contact the mental health and suicide prevention training team.