SFA: Suicide First Aid through Understanding Suicide Intervention Suicide prevention education and training programmes


SFA: Suicide First Aid through Understanding Suicide Intervention

Suicide prevention education and training programmes

Since creation as a Accredited Unit of Learning programme, this one-day training solution has met the learning needs of multiple groups, from police and other First Responders, through to clergy, veteran support providers, domestic abuse practitioners, community helpers, healthcare practitioners including primary and secondary care, in addition to housing, social care, security officers, armed forces, the education sectors, accredited councilors and more…

In sum, it gives learners the tools and knowledge they need to understand suicide is one of the most preventable deaths and that simple skills are all that are required to help someone with thoughts of suicide, stay safe from their thoughts, and cope.

First Developed in 2002, in Australia, and later developed for UK from 2013, SFA: Suicide First Aid through Understanding Suicide Intervention (SFAUSI) is:


  • Evidence based: Two independent evaluations in 2016 and 2017 by Dr Paul Rogers. A cohort total of 315 participants, in the UK and Trinidad. Significant statistical change in 14 of 19 measures was noted. Increased confidence and reduced anxiety in dealing with suicide, were the leading outcomes. SFAUSI is described as the Gold Standard in suicide prevention training.


  • Recognition: by City and Guilds Institute (C&G), forming 6 credits at level 4 ‘Understanding Suicide Interventions’ is the UK’s national Accredited Unit of Learning in suicide prevention. The assessment is based on knowledge demonstrated via a written assignment.


  • Assured: The 5-day Associate Tutor Training Development Programme (ATTDP) is an Assured train-the-trainer programme of tested learning. Assessment is via observed competency, submission of a reflective practice journal and completion of the written knowledge-based SFAUSI assessment.


  • Externally moderated: all tutor performance is subject to external moderation by the awarding body, C&G Institute. Teaching is subject to scrutiny including interviews with learners and quality assurance checks.


  • Flexibly delivered: to accommodate the professional and cultural needs of the different sectors that require training. The programme has set learning goals with content developed relevant to learners need.



Associate Tutor Training Development Programme (ATTDP)

Associate Tutors attend a 5-day teaching development programme to learn the programme materials, delivery and knowledge, and to deepen their understanding of the learning outcomes. Successful completion of a reflective practice journal after a mentor-supported delivery of their 1st programme
provides formal suicide prevention tutor certification, Assured by C&G Institute. Upon completion, ATT tutors are effectively qualified in Suicide Prevention Training and licensed to provide SFA: Suicide First Aid.


Associate Tutor business model

Successful completion of the Development Programme results in the creation of a license with SFA: Suicide Firs Aid UK (t/a Suicide First Aid Accredited Unit of Learnings) (the Approved C&G Centre) and the Tutor.

This license permits delivery of the SFAUSI training programme by Tutors within a set rule structure. In summary, Tutors are:

  • Entitled to deliver the SFAUSI programmes using course materials approved by C&G Institute and provided by SFA: Suicide First Aid UK


  • Tutors will have met the professional competency standard in mental health and also possess a formal teaching Accredited Unit of Learning (PTLLS, PGCE or PGCert /equivalent), or, have significant prior experience in the delivery of fee-paid face to face learning; if not already met, at the discretion of SFA: Suicide First Aid UK, Tutors may meet this standard by mandatory completion of the SFAUSI assessment during their ATT Development Programme process.


  • Proposed Tutors will need to demonstrate their own established business model for how they will disseminate the SFA: Suicide First Aid UK programmes to their business audience. Ideally, they will be an established training provider, either to an identified professional group within an organisation, or a freelance trainer with an established customer base. SFA programmes are not suitable for delivery by inexperienced educators, or those without clearly identified audiences for programme delivery post-ATTDP.


  • Tutors are expected to deliver the programmes as per the guidance and standard procedures set out within the Associate Tutor Training Manual and coaching provided by an SFA Mentor. The learning outcomes are presented in a best practice format. As competency increases with familiarity of the programmes, Tutors have more freedom to present learning in their own style, so long as it is congruent with the learning outcomes and teaching methodology set out by the ATT Manual and with guidance from an SFA Mentor.


  • In order to obtain the full SFA: Suicide First Aid through Understanding Suicide Intervention unit Accredited Unit of Learning, learners must enroll with C&G and electronically submit a completed written assessment within 6 weeks of programme delivery. SFA Associate Tutors receive a Suicide First Aid
    Learner Workbook credit from SFA Accredited Unit of Learning for every learner who completes enrollment with C&G.


  • To continue delivery of the SFA programmes, Associate Tutors must attend a formal Continuous Professional Development programme annually, as provided by SFA Accredited Unit of Learning. This will be provided by SFA Accredited Unit of Learning and will incur an attendance fee. CPD events will be held on a minimum of 2 days per year and flexibility will be exercised where attendance is problematic for tutors. Attendance is compulsory at one CPD event annually, as this maintains the C&G Tutor standard and provides essential learning updates, an opportunity for networking and feedback between all Associates Tutors and the developers, as well as C&G.


  • Associate Tutors will be assigned a personal SFA Mentor at their ATT programme, with whom they will liaise and work towards meeting the competency standards set out by C&G and SFA Accredited Unit of Learning. It is likely this coach will remain their development mentor throughout their relationship with SFA Accredited Unit of Learning.



Associate Tutor Training (ATT) – business model financials

Core upfront cost to invest in an Associate Tutor license is £2500 for the 5-day Associate Tutor Training (4 consecutive day course plus 1 day mentored first delivery). This cost secures the opportunity to become licensed to deliver the SFAUSI programmes. Tutors are expected to diarise their first scheduled delivery of SFAUSI with their SFA Mentor by the end of the 4-day ATTDP. Materials for their day 5 programme delivery, are provided by SFA Accredited Unit of Learning, included in the cost of ATTDP.

Future participant packs comprise of an SFA Programme Workbook, Course Companion and Suicide-Safety Guide, cost per SFAUSI Programme Participant Pack is £15

SFAUSI has a ‘lowest supply fee’ that Associate Tutors must comply with when being commissioned to provide training programmes. The ‘lowest supply fee’ acts as a price floor, which is the minimum cost at which a programme can be supplied, both to protect the value of the programme and also protect Associates from unfair competitive business practices that undermine the value and spirit of our work. The ‘lowest supply fee’ floor is £1000 for SFAUSI. This floor is for UK programmes only. International license
agreements are distinct.

Guidance provided by training partners indicates the current UK market value of SFAUSI is based on customer sector. Public and private sector customers expect to pay £1500 – £2000 for the 1-day programme, the 3rd sector £1000. These are guides and it is acknowledged each provider has a unique business pricing model. It is expected Associate Tutors and their respective training providers include the cost of Programme Workbook packs within their day unit cost when being commissioned for provision of training programmes.

SFAUSI can be delivered to a maximum of 16 participants. The maximum number is designed to create sufficient tutor/learner dynamic and to ensure that learner safety is not compromised.


SFA: Suicide First Aid through Understanding Suicide Intervention (SFAUSI) – programme content and overview

• Introduction to: the day; programme; ourselves and suicide prevention• “I’m Really Glad You Told Me” exclusive audio-visual featuring Jonny Benjamin OBE and Neil Laybourn

• Causes of Suicide thoughts

• Intention of behaviour Versus Outcome of behaviour

• Meeting the needs of a person who is letting you know

• Partnership working

• Population-based approach to suicide prevention

• Step 1 – Recognising suicide and Asking about suicide

• Step 2 – Understanding options

• Step 3 – Safeguarding suicide

• Stigma and Survivors of bereavement by suicide

• Suicide – the Ripple Effect

• Suicide thoughts and suicide behaviour

• Coping and Safety Planning

• Suicide-Safety Guide

• Evaluating the risk assessment approach to suicide prevention

• Working with attitudes and values

For expressions of interest or an informal discussion please email [email protected]