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Help start the conversation

Independent retailers across Portsmouth will be given FREE specialist training in how to recognise when customers are having suicidal thoughts.

Dozens of shopkeepers, tattooists and other independent retailers across Portsmouth will be given specialist training in how to recognise when customers are having suicidal thoughts, and how to offer to help, thanks to a grant from Portsmouth Community Lottery.

Tonic has been awarded £2,000 to pilot two four-hour suicide first aid courses followed a week later by a Peer Support Group.

40 local independent retailers will be able to attend these courses free of charge in order to learn how to spot when someone may be having suicidal thoughts, how to approach starting a potentially tricky conversation and how signpost them to appropriate help.

Suicide First Aid Tutor Jade Hughes will be leading the courses.

Jade said: “It’s not always family and friends who are the first to notice signs that someone may be suicidal.

It might be that a shopkeeper has noticed a change in behaviour - maybe someone’s stockpiling medication, or purchasing alcohol more frequently.

Or people might open up to a bartender, hairdresser or tattoo artist in a way they might not to those closest to them.

We want to give independent retailers the ability to recognise the warning signs and to feel confident in approaching that conversation.”

Why local independent retailers?

Most retailers interact with members of the local community who experience poor mental health‭. ‬For example‭, ‬this could be interacting with the same customer on a regular or prolonged basis‭, ‬and noticing changes in their behaviour‭, ‬such as more frequent purchases of alcohol or medication‭.‬


The aim of the course is to help equip retailers with suicide intervention skills that can be applied when an individual is thinking about‭, ‬planning or attempting suicide‭. ‬It is hoped this will benefit the wider community in Portsmouth‭, ‬as a single suicide‭ ‬is estimated to affect as many as 135‭ ‬people known to the individual‭. ‬

When and where?

Suicide First Aid Lite will be facilitated at Tonic’s premises on‭ ‬Prince Albert Road‭, ‬Southsea by our qualified Suicide First Aid associate tutor‭. ‬See opposite for date options‭. ‬All participants‭ ‬will receive a certificate of attendance and course materials to take home‭.‬

Q&A Session

All participants are invited to the optional Q&A Session on Monday 17th October at Tonic’s premises on Prince Albert Road‭, ‬Southsea‭. ‬This is for participants to meet beforehand‭, ‬ask questions‭, ‬share any concerns and find out more about the Suicide First Aid Lite course before attending‭.‬

Peer Support Group

There is a Peer Support Group a week after the SFAL Session for participants to share their experiences of attending the course‭.‬ It is hoped this will encourage local independent retailers to form networks enabling them to talk about mental health‭, ‬including any situations in which they employ suicide intervention skills‭.‬

Tonic has approached a number of retailers directly, and would like to hear from others who are interested in attending a course.

If you would like further information or to register your interest in attending the Q&A Session please email

Can't make the Q&A Session but want to attend the training course, just complete our online form to attended either of the sessions available by tapping on the button below.



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