Step by Step

Step by Step is a Samaritans service that provides practical support and guidance to help school and college communities prepare for, and recover from a suspected or attempted suicide.

Contact the Step by Step team by email or call 0808 168 2528*.

Nobody likes to think about a death in school. Yet suicide is a leading cause of death for young people in the UK and ROI. Sadly, it is always a possibility that a student, parent or member of staff might choose to take their own life.

Samaritans’ Step by Step service is here to support organisations working with young people so that they can respond effectively following the suspected or attempted suicide of someone from within their community; taking practical steps to reduce the risk of further deaths in the area.

I cannot thank Samaritans and the Step by Step team enough. The service is utterly brilliant and they deal with one of the most devastating things that can happen to a school

- Head teacher

About Step by Step

Samaritans has offered the Step by Step service across the UK since 2010 and have recently expanded to support schools and Youth-reach Centres in the Republic of Ireland.

The Step by Step team aims to:

  • Provide information and support to help the school community come to terms with what has happened and prevent stigma and isolation in the school community;
  • Support school communities to reduce the risk of further suicide;
  • Reach out to high risk people and communities to reduce the risk of further suicide

Specialist support

The service is run by a team of trained volunteers, called Postvention** Advisors, who can offer practical support, guidance and information on addressing the impact of a suspected or attempted suicide on the school community. The team is experienced in working proactively with schools and local authorities to prevent further suicides. The specialist knowledge and skills of the volunteers is based on research and best practice developed through Samaritans’ experience, learning from the communities we have supported.

As every situation is different, Postvention Advisors can tailor the support offered depending on the needs of the school or group.

Contact the team directly to discuss how we might be able to support you. 

Has your school been affected by a suspected or attempted suicide?

Or, would you like to discuss how to develop a response plan for a suspected suicide?

How can Step by Step help?

As described in a recent evaluation of our service, ‘Step by Step is there to reassure senior leadership teams that what they are doing is right for the school and advise them on what they feel works best throughout the incredibly difficult first few weeks.’

Get in touch with our Step by Step service ( or Freephone* 0808 168 2528 and we will do all we can to help you deal with a situation you may never have faced before.

We can also assist with raising awareness of emotional health among young people, by offering talks in schools.

Where else can you get support?

Your local authority and other organisations may also be able to provide emotional support and advice on specific issues.

Samaritans is also available round the clock, every day of the year by phone, email, text, letter or face-to-face visits in the branch for anyone who might be struggling to cope.

Get in touch

If your school has been affected by a suspected attempted or completed suicide, please contact us to discuss how we can support you.


Tel: 0808 168 2528*

These contact details go direct to the Step by Step team.

Find out more about Step by Step’s resources

View our privacy statement

We made decisions in that first week that I don’t think we would have made if we had been supported by Step by Step early on 

- Head teacher



*Calls are free from landlines and some mobile providers


Postvention is the term given to activities that assist those who have been bereaved by suicide to cope with what has happened. Suicide prevention and postvention are closely linked as postvention can also prevent further deaths.

Related links

Step by Step Resources

Step by Step Frequently Asked Questions

Raising awareness of emotional health issues among young people

Whatever you're going through, you can call us free any time, from any phone on 116 123.


For support for universities, click here