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Improving health
Previously NHS Health Scotland

Coronavirus (COVID-19) training update

As we move forward through the transition phases of recovery from COVID-19, we are constantly assessing our responses to Scottish Government guidance and evidence of effective practice.

At this point, face to face training managed by Public Health Scotland is paused.

Please check back at the start of each month for updates on this position.

Whilst face to face training is paused, you can still participate in online learning such as

If you are concerned you may have COVID-19 symptoms or are looking for more information on COVID-19 please see NHS inform’s COVID-19 pages (external site).


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

Public Health Scotland and NHS Education Scotland (NES) have jointly developed a series of animations that help individuals have supportive conversations on mental health and suicide.

The animations highlight the range of communication skills that should be used including

  • listening
  • questioning
  • responding.

They also provide information on how to get immediate help and support.

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

There are 2 sets of animations. One is focused on developing supportive communication with adults, the other with children and young people.

Please note that these animations are hosted on an NHS Education Scotland’s TURAS platform. They are part of e-learning modules which has been designed to support e-learning at the Informed Level of Scotland’s Knowledge and Skills Framework for Mental Health Improvement, Self-Harm and Suicide Prevention (external site).

Registration may be required.



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.

Contact the Mental Health and Suicide Prevention Learning Resource Team

For additional information on any of the learning resources and courses listed above please contact the mental health and suicide prevention training team.