Feeling suicidal: crisis support and information

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Call 999 for an ambulance 

If you feel unable to call 999 yourself, go to the Porters’ Lodge in your College or contact your pastoral team (e.g. the Wellbeing team, Nurse, Chaplain, Senior Tutor, etc.) who may assist you in calling the emergency services. A friend could also help.

When you call 999:

  • An operator will ask you which service you need;

  • They will connect you with the local ambulance service;

  • An emergency call handler will ask you if the patient is breathing and awake;

  • They will ask the phone number you are calling from, the address where the emergency is and the reason for the call;

  • Although a friend, the Porter or another College staff member can call 999 for you, the operator might ask to speak with you if you can;

  • Describe the situation the best you can and provide as much information as possible to assist the call handler to assess the situation and offer the right support;

  • Some questions you might be asked are: what has happened; how many people are involved; what is the age, gender and medical history of the patient; is the person conscious or unconscious, breathing or not breathing; what part of the body was injured; is there any serious bleeding; 

  • The response could be to send an ambulance for you, advise you to go to A&E, your GP or pharmacist;

  • If an ambulance is not dispatched, you could still go to the nearest A&E. If you are in College, you may wait in the Porters’ Lodge for a taxi to travel there. A friend could go with you.


Go to the A&E at Addenbrookes Hospital (if you are in Cambridge)

The hospital is located on Hills Rd, Cambridge CB2 0QQ.

Although it would be a good idea to have someone accompany you to the hospital until you get medical support, there might be a chance that the A&E service may not let your friend come inside with you due to capacity. Addenbrookes has various places where your friend could wait, including a coffee shop inside the main entrance. You can go to the Porters’ Lodge where the duty porters could call you a taxi and stay with you until the taxi arrives. This could also be a friend or someone you trust and feel comfortable with.

What happens in A&E?

  • You will be asked to check in at reception, provide your personal details and the reason for your visit;

  • A medical professional will talk to you about what happened and your feelings to decide on the support you need. It would be helpful if you or the person that is with you mentioned you are experiencing a mental health crisis and asked to see the liaison psychiatry team; 

  • The outcomes could include receiving treatment while in A&E, transferring you to another ward in the hospital such as a mental health ward or being asked to return home;

  • If you are transferred to a mental health ward, this information answers questions about hospital treatment including what happens when you leave the hospital. 



Out of Hours: Call 111 Option 2 to speak to the local NHS First Response Service

To access this service, you need to be registered with a GP in Cambridgeshire or Peterborough.

What happens when calling 111 option 2?

  • Although ideally, you will make the call yourself, if you need help reaching out for help, someone else, such as a friend, could call on your behalf. They will need to be with you and get your consent to speak for you. It is a good idea to put the phone on speaker so both you and the other person can contribute to the conversation; 

  • Specially-trained mental health staff will speak to you and discuss with you your mental health care needs;

  • Describe the situation the best you can and provide as much information as possible to assist the mental health professional to assess the situation and offer the right support;

  • Support may involve telephone support or a face to face assessment and, if appropriate, referrals onto other CPFT services. 


During the daytime: contact your GP Practice

They might be able to offer an emergency appointment or help you access help or information. 


If you need to speak to someone right now

These are free, anonymous and open 24/7. 


Stay Alive App

This is a suicide prevention resource providing useful information and tools to help you stay alive in a mental health crisis. You can use it if you are experiencing suicidal thoughts or if you are worried about someone who might be considering suicide. You can use this app to create a safety plan, a wellness plan, breathing exercises, reasons for living, resources and practical advice to support you in helping someone who feels suicidal, etc. Some of these resources can only be accessed by creating an account. 

Information about their privacy policy can be found here


Contact the University Counselling Service (UCS)

The UCS can help with providing information and arranging an appointment to access support. The UCS is located at the Student Services Centre (SSC) on Bene't St (CB2 3PT) and the SSC’s telephone contact is 01223 332865.


If and when you can, inform your College about your situation as they could also help you get the support you need or complement the support you might already be receiving.



Confidentiality may vary from College to College, the person you disclose your experiences to and dependent on the situation. If you are unsure or have concerns about confidentiality, check this with the person you speak to which may help you both understand the terms of the conversation and confidentiality.

It is likely that assurances of absolute confidentiality cannot be guaranteed. If a member of staff is concerned about your safety or someone else’s, they might break confidentiality to seek support from, for example, emergency services.

If the situation does not appear to present a risk to your or someone else’s life, the member of staff should ideally discuss with you disclosing information about your situation to third parties and seek your consent to do so. Please note that this may not always be the case as it will be that individual who will assess the situation and the risk presented to you and/or others.

Where a member of staff assesses that the situation requires immediate intervention, they may decide to contact the following services:

  • The Police if you leave the College or University premises and you indicated that you made plans to attempt suicide;

  • An ambulance if you attempted suicide, are injured or unresponsive;

  • 111 Option 2 if you consent to speak with a medical professional or give consent to someone else to speak on your behalf.


Disclosing suicidal feelings to a friend or another student 

If you tell a friend or another student that you have suicidal thoughts, other than a verbal understanding of confidentiality, there is usually no guarantee that the other individual will keep the conversation confidential, particularly if they are worried about your or others’ safety.

If a student concerned about you discussed your situation with a member of staff, that member of staff will usually contact you to discuss your situation and how they can best support you. 


Where else can I go for support?

If you are concerned about the impact your situation may have on your studies, consider speaking with an Advisor at the Student Advice Service for confidential, impartial and independent advice. They can can help you discuss your concerns and understand any University and College procedures. 


Other resources

Kevin Hines Story: I jumped off the Golden Gate Bridge & survived to help people find hope & recovery 

Kevin Hines is a best-selling author, global public speaker, and award-winning documentary filmmaker. In the year 2000, Kevin attempted to take his life by jumping off the Golden Gate Bridge. He now travels the world sharing his story of hope, healing, and recovery while teaching people of all ages the art of wellness and the ability to survive pain with true resilience.

His website can be accessed here.

MIND: Finding out what support is out there 

CPFT Help in a Crisis 

Ways to help yourself cope in a crisis

Stay Alive App 

The University Counselling Service  



Stop Suicide Pledge 

Information about accessing A&E 

Information about receiving treatment in hospital 

Information about what may happen when you call 999 

Information about what happens when you call 999 


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