Edge of Darkness


Suicide is the most common cause of death in men under the age of 35 (The National Service Framework for Mental Health – Five Years On,London: Department Of Health, p.72, 2005) and is a major cause for concern for staff working across all service user groups. Staff can feel a range of emotions ranging from fear and anxiety to frustration and anger and often feel under-equipped to know how to assess the risk and how to respond to that risk.

This workshop aims to prepare participants to feel more confident and skilled in working with service users who may pose a suicide risk. The workshop is delivered through a series of dramatised case scenarios, each addressing a different aspect of suicidal behaviour. In each case participants are helped to explore their own reactions, understanding and skills and then to compare that with best practice.

This evocative workshop dramatically brings together the fraught tension between the needs of the service user and that of the practitioner in a way that highlights good, safe and appropriate practice.


The workshop can be run over one, two, three or more days. As a rough guide:

  • The one-day workshop is suitable for staff for who suicidal risk is not a major concern, but may occasionally encounter it

  • The two-day course is for staff who work with service users where suicide risk is a common concern

  • The longer courses are for staff who need to develop specialist skills in working with suicidal service users



On this course participants will:

  • Review the major factors contributing to increased suicide risk and clarify the truth, myths and misconceptions around suicidal behaviour

  • Identify a strong and ethical approach to working with suicidal behaviour

  • Learn techniques for On-site Immediate Suicide Negotiation

  • Learn how to use the "Gun-powder Model" to assess whether the risk is immediate or long-term, and of the severity of that risk

  • Identify skills to respond to an


This covers everything on the One Day Course, and in addition course participants will:

  • Discover skills and strategies for working with suicidal behaviour over the longer term

  • Consider complicating factors such as borderline personality disorder and psychosis

  • Explore issues such as complicated grief following a suicide and the needs of staff, family and friends


The longer courses (3-5 days) cover everything in the one and two day course and then go on to look in more detail at the specialist skills involved in working with specific client groups.