World Suicide Prevention Day: University of Sheffield and its Students’ Union are first to back Lord Mayor of Sheffield’s campaign for mental wellbeing and suicide prevention

Lord Mayor Magid Magid, Professor Wyn Morgan and SU officers Katherine Swindells and Lilian Jones

The University of Sheffield and its Students’ Union are the first organisations in the country to back a campaign led by Lord Mayor of Sheffield Magid Magid by pledging to take positive action to promote mental wellbeing and prevent suicide.

On World Suicide Prevention Day (10 September 2018), the Lord Mayor has launched an initiative which aims to encourage 100 companies and organisations across the UK to sign a Suicide Prevention Charter before the end of September.

Councillor Magid, who became Lord Mayor of Sheffield in May, asked the University of Sheffield and its Students’ Union to be the first to commit to the pledge, which urges organisations to break the silence, offer mental health support and educate their communities to reduce the risk of suicide and self-harming behaviour.

Professor Wyn Morgan, Vice-President for Education at the University of Sheffield, said: "Opening up about mental health difficulties is one of the hardest things a young person can do and promoting positive mental health is an important responsibility for universities, but also society as a whole. We work together with our Students' Union to ensure our University is a place where students and staff feel safe to speak about mental health and to seek help.

"We're honoured that the Lord Mayor of Sheffield Magid Magid chose the University of Sheffield to launch this important campaign, which is also backed by the Samaritans, and hope others will also support this initiative.

"Sheffield was the country's first City of Sanctuary, a place that welcomes those who have faced distress. We are committed to working with our partners on positive mental health and suicide prevention, for the good of all those who make our University their home."

Lilian Jones, President of Sheffield Students’ Union, added: “Mental health is an integral part of our wellbeing and must be taken seriously.

“At Sheffield Students’ Union we are committed to ensuring our support services are well-designed and wide-reaching, and our students know where to go if they are experiencing mental health difficulties.

“We aim to create a culture where mental health is not stigmatised, but freely talked about, so that every student can access the help they need and get the most out of their University experience.”

Opening up about mental health difficulties is one of the hardest things a young person can do and promoting positive mental health is an important responsibility for universities, but also society as a whole.


The UK Suicide Prevention Charter urges organisations to create, evolve and enhance policies to support mental wellbeing and to develop their understanding of the risk factors around suicide so they can target interventions.

The University of Sheffield offers mental health support information to all students as part of their university enrolment and induction including: how to look after your mental wellbeing; early recognition of common mental health problems such as stress/anxiety/depression; how and where to get help; what to do if you are having suicidal thoughts; and how to help your friends.

It is also committed to creating an open culture around mental wellbeing for staff and offers a wide range of support, advice and information.

Lord Mayor of Sheffield Magid Magid said: “As we know, mental health affects everyone, regardless of background, and the aim of this campaign is to get as many organisations across the country to sign up and pledge to enhance or create policies that are going to improve the mental health of their members and colleagues.

“We want to send out a message that more can be done to prevent suicide and to educate people. We want as many people as possible to take the pledge and take that step further.”

He added: “It was a no brainer for me to ask the University of Sheffield to launch this campaign and get them to be the first people to sign up to the pledge because they already do so much amazing work. They are a university of sanctuary and it felt like a good representation of what this campaign is about so I am really grateful for their support.”

The campaign has also been backed by the Samaritans – a national charity which offers support to anyone in emotional distress, struggling to cope, or at risk of suicide.

Jane Hewitt, Volunteer and Director of Samaritans’ Sheffield branch, said: “Three times more people die by suicide than road accidents, so preventing people from taking their own lives is an urgent public health issue.

“We’re working in partnership with a range of organisations in the city to raise awareness of Samaritans’ emotional support services, and highlight who may be at risk of suicide and what can be done to prevent it.”
She added: “We welcome the Lord Mayor’s focus on bringing people together to share ideas and best practice. We believe that suicide prevention is everybody’s business, and that together we will save lives.”

Support Lord Mayor of Sheffield Magid Magid's Suicide Prevention Charter

Additional information

The University of Sheffield’s Counselling Service (UCS) was the first university counselling service to be awarded accreditation by APPTS in recognition of its talented and clinically robust team who offer a varied range of treatments and interventions in a challenging environment.

SAMHS (Student Access to Mental Health Support) is the first point of contact for students to explore a broad range of psychological support. Any University of Sheffield student can register online with SAMHS and book an initial, 'triage' appointment. At a triage appointment, the student's suitability for one-to-one counselling at UCS is considered as well as a wide range of other available interventions.

All students have free access to Big White Wall at home or while abroad. It provides immediate access to 24/7 online peer and professional support, with trained counsellors.

Sheffield Nightline is a confidential, anonymous listening and information service provided by student volunteers.

Find out more about psychological support available to students at the University of Sheffield

Find out more about mental health and wellbeing support for University of Sheffield staff 

The University of Sheffield

With almost 29,000 of the brightest students from over 140 countries, learning alongside over 1,200 of the best academics from across the globe, the University of Sheffield is one of the world’s leading universities.

A member of the UK’s prestigious Russell Group of leading research-led institutions, Sheffield offers world-class teaching and research excellence across a wide range of disciplines.

Unified by the power of discovery and understanding, staff and students at the university are committed to finding new ways to transform the world we live in.

Sheffield is the only university to feature in The Sunday Times 100 Best Not-For-Profit Organisations to Work For 2018 and for the last eight years has been ranked in the top five UK universities for Student Satisfaction by Times Higher Education.

Sheffield has six Nobel Prize winners among former staff and students and its alumni go on to hold positions of great responsibility and influence all over the world, making significant contributions in their chosen fields.

Global research partners and clients include Boeing, Rolls-Royce, Unilever, AstraZeneca, Glaxo SmithKline, Siemens and Airbus, as well as many UK and overseas government agencies and charitable foundations.


For further information please contact:

Hannah Postles
Media Relations Officer
The University of Sheffield
0114 2221046