Signs Someone May Be Considering Suicide
Suicide is the second leading cause of death among college age students. Most people who commit suicide give some indication of their intent, either directly or indirectly.
Some of the warning signs may include:
- Talking about committing suicide either directly or making statements such as, “I don’t know how much longer I can go on like this,” “it won’t matter soon,” or “people would be better off without me.”
- Persistent depression
- Expressing feelings of hopelessness and helplessness
- Recent loss, such as a death of a loved one or the ending of a significant relationship
- Withdrawal from their lives and activities they previously enjoyed
- Change in sleeping habits, including insomnia or excessive sleeping
- Change in eating patterns
- Increased alcohol or drug use
- Change in level of personal hygiene
- Change in academic performance and class attendance
- Noticeable change in personality
- Taking unnecessary and potentially harmful risks, such as reckless driving or drinking and driving
- Preparation for death, such as giving away possessions, or saying goodbye to friends
- Preparing a suicide plan
- Previous suicide attempts
How to Help
It is normal to feel frightened, anxious or overwhelmed when someone directly or indirectly communicates their intent to commit suicide. Try and remain calm. Here are some guidelines on how to respond to this difficult situation:
- Assess the level of danger. If you feel the person is in imminent risk of committing suicide, call 911, or campus security at 755-3888.
- Listen, and take their concerns seriously. Let them know you are listening and really hearing what they are saying by repeating back to them the essence of what they have said.
- Don’t be judgmental or try and make them feel guilty by telling them that suicide is wrong, or lecture them about how much it would hurt their family.
- Be supportive and let them know you care about them, and want to help.
- Ask them directly if they have thought about suicide. Ask them how they would do it, or if they have a plan and the means to carry it out.
- The more specific the plan the more serious the threat of imminent harm is. Do not leave someone alone who has the means to carry out their plan. Take them to the emergency room, or call 911, or campus security.
- If a person is armed however, protect yourself, remove yourself from the situation and call 911 or campus security.
- Let the person know they are not alone, that help is available and urge them to seek counseling. Let them know about the services available to them at the Student Center for Health and Counseling. Offer to walk with them to the Student Center for Health & Counseling, and stay with them until they are able to be seen by a counselor.
- If you are unsure of what to do, call the SCHC and speak with a counselor. Let them know of your concerns. The counselor can help you assess the situation and help you decide what you should do.