Time Space Compassion - supporting people who are having a suicidal crisis: guide - easy read

Easy read version of the Time Space Compassion introductory guide to supporting people in suicidal crisis. It has been developed for use by people and services who regularly come into contact and support people in suicidal crisis.

Time Space Compassion: Supporting people who are having a suicidal crisis - Easy Read Version


Time Space Compassion is part of a plan by the Scottish Government and the Convention of Scottish Local Authorities (COSLA). It aims to reduce deaths by suicide in Scotland.

Suicidal crisis is when a person is close to killing themselves. Something needs to be done right away to keep them safe. Time Space Compassion is a way of supporting people who are having a suicidal crisis.

Time Space Compassion is based on the views and experience of people affected by suicidal crisis and people who give support. It is also based on facts and human rights.

Time Space Compassion has values and principles. These can be used to come up with support that meets the needs of people affected.

Time Space Compassion is one part of an action plan to make sure everyone affected by suicide gets the right support when they need it. This is for all children, young people and adults who have suicidal thoughts and behaviour. This is also for anyone who cares for them, and anyone affected by suicide in other ways.


  • Put people and relationships first.
  • Listen well, planning and taking action together.
  • Fit different people and cultures, supporting people's human rights.
  • Explore and make choices together.
  • Understand people's lives, needs and hopes.
  • Understand different kinds of support that are available and connect people with the support they need.
  • Use facts and people's experience of what works best to make things better.

Time Space Compassion Principles


  • Give people time to be heard and listen.
  • Give people support when they need it.
  • Stick with people over time.
  • Take time to connect people to different supports.
  • Do not judge a person. Value them and their time.


  • Help people get to a safe place that meets their needs.
  • Offer safe emotional and physical space.
  • Make accessible and welcomes places.
  • Support people to feel safe and to help keep them safe.
  • Use these principles whether communicating with people in person, by phone or online.


  • Show kindness, respect and be sensitive.
  • Understand how people's bad experiences can affect them.
  • Keep in contact with each other and understand boundaries.
  • Be clear about what you will do for people.
  • Know what is important to people, their hopes and relationships.
  • Make sure people who support others have the chance to take care of themselves.

Building our ability to offer Time Space Compassion

Supporting people affected by suicide and suicidal crisis is challenging. We know people who do this also need Time Space Compassion in order to do it well. This can include:

  • How we connect: this means good connections and relationships with the people we support and work with.
  • Our own Time Space Compassion: this means having the time and support we need to look after our own wellbeing
  • Practice: this means finding ways to learn and do better for people in crisis.
  • Everyday work: make sure our rules, forms and systems support this.

Support that is available

Breathing Space

Service open: Monday to Thursday - 6pm to 2am Weekends - Friday 6pm to Monday 6am

Phone: 0800 83 85 87

Webchat: breathingspace.scot


A helpline for anyone feeling low or considering suicide. Phone: 116 123

Website: samaritans.org

NHS 24 mental health hub

Call 111 to get urgent mental health assessment and support 24/7.

Phone: 111


A free service for children and young people whenever they need support or advice. Open 24/7.

Phone: 0800 1111

Website: http://www.childline.org.uk


Email: TSC@gov.scot

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