Suicide doesn’t discriminate

Suicide takes thousands of lives per year in the UK. Years of love, memories, relationships and possibilities are lost each time a person dies by suicide. We are losing our family members, our friends, our neighbours and work colleagues. It affects every community so we need to support our communities to have to prevent suicide – provide them with tools and knowledge that can be cascaded far and wide.

It is through this approach that the Community Connectors Suicide Prevention programme has been developed for Birmingham communities. Conceptualised by Common Unity and Forward For Life, this approach will empower communities to provide learning to their networks on the challenge of suicide and how to support people to stay alive. For more information and to receive updates email

Our Website links:

Suicide Prevention Training Feedback

Telling us straight

In our field of work we are keen to know what you think of the training you receive from us. We need to know what things are going well, what could be improved and how you feel about the experience we provide.

SCHEMA – An Approach to Suicide Prevention

SCHEMA is a suicide prevention course that supports professionals and community members in effectively helping people with suicidal thoughts. The SCHEMA suicide prevention course is suitable for all walks of life and this is because suicidal behaviour occurs across all our communities and is everybody’s responsibility. Whatever your background, by attending SCHEMA you will feel better prepared to support someone who has suicidal thoughts.

SCHEMA FeedbackDateRecommendScore

Very good session, well organised and communicated the information clearly. Really engaging.

Both Caron & Terry did an amazing job on delivering today’s training.

The training was good and really engaging I really enjoyed it.

The Schema training was a new approach for me, however, at the end of the session, I now feel more confident.

Great – loved it was so helpful and interactive really thought-provoking I learned a lot.

The engaging activities really helped prepare for real life scenarios.

Excellent training, informative and interactive

The training was interactive and relevant to our line of work. Really impressed with Terry’s and Caron’s passion and enthusiasm on the topic.

Thank you so much for an interesting and informative day.

Really enjoyed the training. It was engaging and informative. Feel as though I have genuinely improved my knowledge.

Loved the ice breaker. Trainers made you feel comfortable and included.

The training was very useful and informative. Thank you

Excellent training. Engaging and interactive. I learned a lot and will be able to use this on the helpline.

More information on SCHEMA can be found here

WISE STEPS – Suicide Prevention Gatekeeper Training

WISE STEPS is an online ‘gatekeeper’ training workshop built on years of experience and best evidenced based approaches in the field of suicide prevention.

Designed, developed and delivered by Forward For Life and Common Unity, WISE STEPS provides a strong foundation for those seeking the tools needed to support people who may be struggling with thoughts of suicide.


I thought the training and the trainers were very knowledgeable and I feel more confident now with the guidance I have received so thank you, Terry & Caron

Really really enjoyed it wish it was longer and in person.

Both facilitators were excellent in their delivery, the team felt at ease with the content discussed. Good breakdown of steps, and suggested words to enable myself to ask the direct question. Team members felt supported throughout the training. Thank you.

I would really like to stay involved with further training id like to take the opportunity to thank you for the training and you’re supporting. The work you are doing and have done in the community and the Waiting rooms want to say how useful this is.

Caron & Terry are excellent trainers & facilitators

More information about Wise Steps can be found here

Outstanding feedback from our first online delivery of Wise Steps

After launching our very first online Suicide Prevention programme, Wise Steps, we were taken aback by the outstanding feedback we received.

What WISE Steps is

WISE STEPS is an online ‘gatekeeper’ training workshop built on years of experience and best evidenced based approaches in the field of suicide prevention.

Designed, developed and delivered by Forward For Life and Common Unity, WISE STEPS provides a strong foundation for those seeking the tools needed to support people who may be struggling with thoughts of suicide.

Getting rid of the stigma and taboo around suicide is paramount in helping people get the support they need and is part of helping to save lives so programmes like this are massively important in raising awareness. Thank you
Thank-you for the training I found it both informative and transferable to real life encounters.
I found the training informative, i think a lot of it I knew already but it emphasized certain points.
I think the training was really clear and timely. It gave us time to learn then discuss what we had learnt to ensure we understood. I would definitely recommend the training, it was very beneficial
It was excellent and very informative all round. Great job guys
The transition to online training seemed to work very well.
The teamwork between the two trainers worked very well.
I was very impressed in the training provided today and can only suggest how important I believe this training is for new recruits into the police service. Many thanks for a brilliant bit of training.

Get in touch:

You can contact us regarding any of our training programmes or anything else for that matter – we love to chat about how we can support you.


Telephone: 07585776800

More information can be found here: Click here for link to Wise Steps

WISE STEPS – Suicide Prevention Gatekeeper Training (online & face to face)

WISE STEPS is an online and face to face ‘gatekeeper’ training workshop built on years of experience and best evidenced based approaches in the field of suicide prevention.

Designed, developed and delivered by Forward For Life and Common Unity, WISE STEPS provides a strong foundation for those seeking the tools needed to support people who may be struggling with thoughts of suicide. In its first year WISE STEPS has been delivered to 100’s of participants across the West Midlands being seen as a vital learning opportunity.

Course Info

Facilitators: 2
Maximum Delegate Number: 15
Duration: 3 Hours

Who is this course for:

WISE STEPS training aims to support organisations and communities to be better prepared to identify and support those at risk of suicide.

How you benefit from WISE STEPS:

  • Understand the impact of suicide and the stigma surrounding suicide.
  • Gain knowledge of the common myths and misconceptions.
  • Have a strong base line knowledge of how to identify those at risk.
  • Gain skills in open and direct dialogue on suicide.
  • Direct those at risk to appropriate support organisations.
  • Knowledge of local and national support resources.
  • Increased confidence in supporting a person who may be at risk of suicide.
  • Understand the vital importance of self-care and personal support opportunities.

Next level online/face to face learning:

WISE STEPS PLUS has been developed specifically for delegates who have already attended the WISE STEPS Gatekeeper online Training.

It provides online enhanced training opportunities to further support those who are having suicidal thoughts.

Course Info

Facilitators: 2
Maximum delegate Number: 12
Duration: 3 Hours

Who is this course for:

WISE STEPS PLUS is specifically for community members/organisations who have attended the WISE STEPS online/face to face Gatekeeper training who wish to develop their skill base further when directly supporting a person with thoughts of suicide to stay safe.

How you benefit from WISE STEPS PLUS:

  • Enhanced skills in open and direct dialogue
  • Skills in developing tailored Life Plans and assessing risk concerns.
  • Understanding and utilisation of ‘exploring safety’ techniques
  • Increased knowledge of CARE prioritisation model
  • Development of both implementation skills and observation skills through role simulation/case studies

Quality assurance

Forward For Life and Common Unity have specialised in the fields of mental health, wellbeing and suicide prevention for a combined period of more than 50 years. They have designed, developed and delivered a range of training programmes across the UK to communities, the public sector and private sector. The training is delivered by Master Trainers in the internationally recognised ASIST and safeTALK suicide prevention programmes.

Our One Day Face to Face suicide prevention training

SCHEMA is our one day course that further supports delegates with skills in developing individual Life Plans for people with thoughts of suicide. SCHEMA is delivered currently as part of the Birmingham and Solihull suicide prevention NHS programme and has been successfully delivered to as part of the Coventry and Warwickshire NHS Partnership Trusts programme for reducing suicide. By attending the SCHEMA course which is our face to face eqivilent to attending our online Wise Steps Plus Suicide Prevention Training.

For more information on SCHEMA please click here.

Have any questions?

Why not get in touch with us so we can help with any inquiries you may have.

CLICK HERE to go to our contact page or call us on 07585776800

About the facilitators:

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Facilitators: Terry Rigby & Caron Thompson

Terry Rigby (Forward For Life) and Caron Thompson (Common Unity) are recognised Suicide Prevention Trainers with 50 years combined experience of working in the mental health, suicide prevention and wellbeing sector both in a strategic and operational capacity.

Since 2012, Terry and Caron have delivered suicide prevention training on behalf of Birmingham and Solihull NHS, Sandwell Metropolitan Borough Council, Dudley Metropolitan Borough Council and Coventry and Warwickshire NHS Partnership Trust. Training has also been delivered across the UK to the private sector and national charitable organisations including IBM, Crisis, GazProm, McDonalds, National Express and BetFred.

Since they began co-facilitating, over 3000 people have benefited from learning suicide prevention skills through a range of training programmes and events.

Superheroes Need Not Apply

One of the biggest fears around suicide is our fear of asking about it. 


When I first set up Forward For Life working in the field of suicide prevention, my youngest child would find it hard to get his head around what I did. After seeing “The Incredibles” and the scene where Mr. Incredible saves a mans’ life from jumping off a tower block, he thought that’s what I did. It was hard for me to tell him the truth, after-all, every Dad wants to be a super-hero; or at least a rocket scientist. But unfortunately I am neither.

Late 2015, I found myself sitting unexpectedly on the BBC Breakfast Red Sofa opposite Naga Munchetty. I had been called up last to sit alongside a young Dublin chap named Jamie Harrington who at the age of 15 walked over to a man standing precariously close to the edge of a bridge and asked him “Are you O.K?” The conversation between Jamie and the man led to that man stepping back from the bridge and being alive today.

When I talked about the importance of talking to people who may have suicidal thoughts, Naga said “but you’re a specialist?” – this is even in spite of the very fact that the young man sitting next to me that morning, who was not a “specialist” had, just through the means of a conversation saved a mans’ life.

Day in, day out I engage with articles, reports, reviews, research and all manner of suicide related social media messages in a range of formats to keep myself up to speed with what is happening in the world of suicide prevention – after all, it’s my job. But preventing suicide is not something that requires a “specialist” knowledge. It is not rocket science and should never be touted as such. Neither is it just something that sits squarely in the domain of the academic world nor the clinical world.

Effective suicide prevention should not view the individual as the problem. But there is something about society and societies perceived fear of the challenge of suicide. If we are going to point the finger of blame, we maybe need to consider pointing the finger at ourselves first.

So, these are the “facts” as I see it:

1) Suicidal thought is human. It is not a direct result of mental illness but is certainly a result of crisis – A crisis so extreme for the individual with suicidal thoughts that they at that moment may not be able to see any other option. Obviously, you could argue that having suicidal thoughts means that their mental health is not good but many people with a mental illness do not attempt suicide and many people without a diagnosed mental health problem…DO.

2) Conversation is key and fear of that conversation is the barrier – We need to ask people if they are O.K. We also need to ask people if they are thinking of ending their life. If we don’t ask the question and don’t have the conversation, then we are in effect doing nothing to reduce the likely-hood of a suicide being completed.

3) Be straight up – Skirting around the edges of the possibility of suicide in a fluffy and non-direct way will mean that most people with thoughts of suicide will not open up. They will instead see you as playing no role in their final decision around suicide – therefore, we need to say it as we see it. We need to be direct and get to the point, after all a life may be at risk here.

4) Without a conversation about suicide many people will die by suicide. With the conversation, some people will still die by suicide. But at least you had the conversation. At the end of the day, there will always be suicide, however, we need to present people with opportunity to find hope in living.

5) You are not there to fix them. Many people with thoughts of suicide, given the time, the space and a non-judgmental opportunity for open dialogue will find their own solutions in keeping themselves safe. They just need a supportive hand to make their solutions come to fruition.

6) Suicide is everyone’s responsibility – For a second, forget all the statistics about people with suicidal thoughts and the likely-hood of them being in touch with mental health services, criminal justice, Doctors etc…. Just hold onto this statistic – 100% of all people that take their own life lived in a community. Therefore…it’s down to all of us. Simple.

7) We are not super-heroes, nor rocket scientists – and nor do we need to be.

If you are concerned about somebody or you are struggling and need someone to talk to then contact Samaritans – Telephone: 116123

Written by Terry Rigby (2016)

Company Director – Forward For Life

Get in touch:

Tel: 07585776800


An overview of our suicide prevention programme


Click to read our briefing paper

Since July 2018, Forward For Life and Common Unity have delivered SCHEMA as part of the Birmingham and Solihull CCG NHS commissioned mental health training, as in-house training for the Housing Sector (Trident Reach) and across Coventry and Warwickshire through the Coventry and Warwickshire NHS Partnership Trust as part of their Wave 1 STP for Suicide Prevention to over 400 delegates with an overall average rating of 9.5 out of 10.

Course Description

SCHEMA is a one day suicide prevention course that supports professionals and community members in effectively helping people with suicidal thoughts.

This course has been being designed and developed by experienced facilitators and practitioners in the fields of suicide prevention, mental health and well-being.

Schema delegates Coventry and Warwickshire 2019
Learning aims
  • To provide delegates with knowledge around suicide and the skills to support an individual who may be thinking of taking their own life.
  • Enable participants to learn how to develop a collaborative helping relationship focused on life options for the individual at risk.
  • To equip participants with practical tools and a framework for understanding the needs of a person at risk along with a Life Plan Model that features risk assessment and future life planning approaches.
  • Provide a safe environment for practice to build confidence and skills.

Learning aspirations for delegates
  • Spot the signals of possible suicidal ideation
  • Ask the right questions
  • Explore with empathy
  • Assess risk level and forward plan
  • Enable short term support and appropriate signposting
  • Learn the skills that could save a life

SCHEMA Delegates:

The delegates have hailed from a range of professions and a myriad of backgrounds from both the public and private sectors.

More specifically, this included the Local Authority, Social Work representatives, the Mental Health Trusts, Mental Health charities, Young People’s services, Carers Support services, Advocacy services, Public Health teams, Private and retail sector (including IBM, McDonalds, National Express and the construction sector), Homeless Support, the Education Sector, Housing and Floating Support, Autism support services, Work programme representatives, Substance Misuse Services, Later-Life Support services, Domestic Violence Support services, Emergency services, Disability Support Services and many more.

Read our briefing paper

Contact us:

t: 07585776800


Background to ASIST

Suicide is a major issue and it’s increasing – In England it is a sad fact that every 2 hours a person dies by their own hand. ASIST suicide prevention training is one way of supporting communities to be suicide safer.

In 2019, over 6,000 suicides were across the UK. Although adults in middle- and late-middle age have the highest suicide rate, suicide occurs in people of all ages, including children and when someone takes their own life, the effect on the family, friends, the local community and the wider community is devastating – An immeasurable impact.

ASIST: suicide first aid

ASIST (Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training) is a two day, skills building workshop that prepares caregivers of all kinds to provide suicide first aid interventions. Professionals, Volunteers and informal helpers all need to know how to help persons with thoughts of suicide in ways that increase their suicide safety.  

As an ASIST-trained first aid intervention Caregiver, you will be better able to:  

Identify people who have thoughts of suicide 

Understand how your beliefs and attitudes can affect suicide interventions

Seek and gain understanding of the reasons for thoughts of suicide and the reasons for living

Review current risk and develop a plan to increase safety from suicidal behaviour for an agreed amount of time

Follow up on all the safety commitments, accessing further help as needed.   

Let’s stop the hush hush approach

The taboo of suicide

Suicide is one of the last big taboos’ in modern day society; A phenomenon that effects so many people in our communities in so many ways and yet has not been tackled with our communities. This needs to change. 

In the last 45 years suicide rates have increased by 60% worldwide. Suicide is now among the three leading causes of death among those aged 15-44 (male and female). Suicide attempts are up to 20 times more frequent than completed suicides.

Although suicide rates had traditionally been highest amongst elderly males, rates among young people have been increasing to such an extent that they are now the group at highest risk in a third of all countries.

There are so many factors that are associated with suicide such as social factors, cultural factors, economic crisis, work stresses, mental health difficulties, family issues, substance misuse, sexual orientation, individual crisis and bullying. 

closer to home

In Britain, each year, more than 6000 people kill themselves; that’s 4000 more deaths per year than occur on all our roads. 

Yet suicide remains a taboo subject that most people won’t entertain talking about it, never mind feeling able to support someone who they think might be considering taking their own life.  

Our approach

At Forward For Life we are constantly striving to develop programmes that support communities and professionals from all walks of life including our Peer Support Programmes and our Suicide Prevention Training Programmes.

We offer both bespoke and standardised training options and have also developed an on-line gatekeeper training programme for suicide prevention known as LITA as we recognise the value in diversifying our approach to best meet our clients needs.

Want to know more?

For more information about any aspects of work please don’t hesitate to contact us either by email at or alternatively by giving us a call on 07585776800.

Why the X Generation?

“Give me the child of 7 and I will show you the man” – the origins of this quote are disputed but the applicability I believe has deep resonance in the world of suicide prevention, especially when the world they have been prepared for moves the goalposts.

Age is just a number

Working in the field of suicide prevention since before the turn of the century I have witnessed more than my fair share of sweeping statements, confusing statistics and utter nonsense’s; some of the former and the latter I have fell foul of myself before I learned the often underrated wisdom of listening and learning before speaking. But by being so entrenched in this field one of the most overlooked facts is that, for both men and women, the age of the person most vulnerable to undertaking a suicidal act has been shifting over time. Not sporadically but in a slow, steady and clearly distinguishable wave. This wave is known to many as Generation X.

Who is the X Generation?

Between the post war Baby Boomers and the mid-80’s born Millenials sat Generation X – people born between the mid 1960’s and the early 80’s. A demographic that is often referred to as the MTV Generation, followers of Grunge or Hip-Hop and viewed by many as slackers, cynical and disaffected during the 90’s and obsessed with the concept of work/life balance today. They are the generation of the Sinclair home computers, desktop word-processors, the pager, the brick sized mobile phones, the CD, the DVD, the answering machine, the Walkman, mixtapes recorded directly from the radio, the video store and the shopping centre.


On August 13th 2019, the Office of National Statistics produced a report entitled Middle-aged generation most likely to die by suicide and drug poisoning – although devastating in nature, I was relieved to see overt recognition of the challenge of Generation X in black and white from the ONS. This is because I remember all too well the mid 90’s when the age highlighted for being most vulnerable to suicidal acts was in the mid 20’s and by the turn of the century is was the 30 year olds, in 2010 we were concentrating on those in the 40 year age bracket and now, it is those in the late 40’s age bracket – my age bracket – my Generation X

Throughout the report there are relationships being lightly drawn between deprivation and suicide rates as well as drug poisonings and suicide. This phenomenon is not only restricted to England and Wales though as it is noted it is equally relevant in the USA as well as Canada. However, even though there is reference made to Generation X, there is no reference to another set of crucial levers that I believe has a huge influence on suicides amongst this generation being the effect on individuals being socialized according to the values of our Baby Boomer parents and the impact of socialization in a world that for many countries changed significantly. A world that no longer lay in-sync with ideals and values of Generation X. It should be noted though, that the ONS writers cannot be held to account for this – after all, this concept is floating into the arms of sociological theory – not a place where ONS understanding has a strong allegiance.

Societies part

From a personal perspective (which this whole article is), socialization of Generation X by the Baby-Boomer generation can be best encapsulated between the pages of the Ladybird “Peter and Jane” series.

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From the toys we were given as boys and girls our futures were being laid out before us. Peter with his crane, toy soldiers, diecast cars and train set and Jane with her dolls, kitchen playset and toy pram. Peter helping his Dad with DIY and Jane baking cakes with mum…for the Dad and Peter.

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Peter giving Dad a hand with securing the car whilst Jane helps her mum to get the tea. For many people of Generation X, these publications ‘helped’ to mould our identities, define our anticipated roles in society as well as subdue any alternative ‘outlandish’ ways of being that sat outside these specific frameworks of how to be a man and a woman in the making.

In addition to the written word for Generation X (including Jacky annual for the girls and Victor for the boys), further reinforcement from peers and family members served to reinforce the mould for what we represented in adulthood. We become the products of ‘hard working’, sole bread-winning fathers and grand-fathers in the manufacturing industries who never spoke of the war, never uttered their feelings, never asked for help but instead spoke through their actions and found their leisure pursuits traditionally best served by the local public house on the evening and weekends. On the other side were our mothers and grandmothers who stayed at home, ‘did their motherly duty’, patched us up, cooked, cleaned and generally served us and our male seniors; All of us in preparation for our well-defined futures. And, to be honest, it was all good, because that was reality for many of the Generation X’s as we knew nothing else – and the repurcussions of a short, sharp, smack to get us back on track reinforced this reality as the only reality available.

Political shifts

But the 70’s and the 80’s also saw wider upheavels – it saw legal changes in respect of divorce laws and sex discrimination; it witnessed Thatcherism and it’s push for home ownership; fragmentation through the miners strikes leading to the demise of power across traditional working class represented unions, the painful shift from the traditional UK based manufacturing stronghold and mass unemployment; a passionate ground-swell of rights for women going into further education and beyond and a strong will to push through the glass ceiling of business as well as a belief that both parents can ‘bring home the bacon’ and with that came the ‘latch-key kids’ who were desperately looking to work out how they fitted.

I believe most passionately that because of these wider societal shifts and many more (unmentioned but as valid) besides, Generation X were provided with one framework with a clear purpose yet found themselves growing up in a society where this framework and societally defined purpose became for many, unfit for purpose – it became redundant. Adaptation to these new set of rules has been unbelievably hard for many Generation X women and men with for too many fatal consequences.

Gender identity

For me, I got lucky if lucky is the word. Until the age of 11 I thought I knew reality and knew my purpose. Then my Mum upset the family apple-cart and went to University to study Sociology, something back then that warranted a column in the local town’s newspaper when she obtained her degree. The (often perceived) change in the status-quo at home contributed to a number of outcomes – some unfortunate (divorce being one of them) and some fortunate, being mainly an opportunity to question what had recently been unspoken territory nor up for negotiation until that point. But for many family members, their view of how the world worked was entrenched in them until their last day – socialization is a very powerful force indeed. When I was 20, I was made redundant from the warehouse I was employed at. I loved my job, made some excellent life-long friends and feel that my life benifitted hugely from this experience. But for me, my next step was to look at a different direction of vocational travel. During Sunday Roast with my family, I told my Grandad that I wanted to go to University and study to be a Social Worker and his well intentioned response will always stay with me….

“A social worker? That’s no job for you. You should be a soldier like your brother or a welder. A proper mans job.”

Now, I loved my Grandad to bits with his no-nonsense view of the world, but thankfully on that occassion I didn’t take his advice although sometimes when I look at what Social Workers have to deal with on a day to day basis I often wonder whether his advice had some legs.

Eyes on the horizon

Today, as part of the SCHEMA: An Approach to Suicide Prevention training and as part of the ManMade Peer Support Programme we run, we set aside time to discuss and reflect on the wider influences that may have an impact on Generation X regarding suicide – we recognise deprivation, we recognise substance misuse but we also recognise that suicide is not only about trying to understand the individual and their perceived problems – it’s much bigger than this and goes much deeper. It requires us to look at ourselves, our histories, our societies and what drives us in truly understanding why people may take their own lives. The challenge then is that when we have come to a clearer conclusion as to why Generation X is at risk we then need to look at what can be done about it – without taking our eyes off the generations to come – an opportunity to use what we have learned to make all our futures brighter.

Written by Terry Rigby: Company Director of Forward For Life 2019

Our Suicide Prevention Training

Suicide doesn’t discriminate. 

Suicide is a devastating act and takes more lives per year in the UK than lives lost in accidents on all our roads. But we can have an impact on this devastating act through learning skills to support a person with suicidal thoughts to consider life options.

Learning the skills that can save a life

At Forward For Life we offer a number of courses to better enable people from all walks of life to support others who may be thinking of suicide. Our courses are both face to face as well as online and include both standardised and our own tailored training options.

Check out our one-day one-day face to face SCHEMA: An Approach to Suicide Prevention programme as well as our online WISE Steps workshop.

What our delegates have told us about our suicide prevention training:

“Will definitely recommend to others, friends and professionals. It helped me to think about suicide in a structured way to help with immediate and long term support.”

“This was a really useful course both for professionals and people who know someone with a mental health issue. Infact, it’s useful for anyone who knows anyone who might need support”

“It was a great day and I feel much more confident now talking to people both as a professional and a friend.”