You’re Not Alone.
In need of immediate help? Call 911.
Suicide Prevention and Awareness
College represents a huge transition and challenges for most young people. If you are experiencing signs of depression or suicidal thoughts you are not alone. Suicide is the second leading cause of death for college students. In a year 40% of college students will report feeling so depressed that it is hard for them to function. Ten percent will report thoughts of suicide. Know that if you are struggling, YOU ARE NOT ALONE.
Facts About Suicide
- Most suicidal persons want to live but are unable to see alternatives to their problems.
- Most suicidal persons give warnings of their intentions, but others are either unaware or do not know how to respond.
- Talking about suicide does not cause someone to be suicidal.
- Just because a person talks about suicide (expresses his/her feelings), does not mean he/she is no longer at risk for suicide.
- Most suicide attempts are expressions of extreme distress, not harmless bids for attention
- Announcing that the person has made a plan to kill him- or herself
- Talking or writing about suicide or death
- Saying things like: I wish I were dead, I’m going to end it all, You will be better off without me.
How do you remember the warning signs of suicide?
Here’s an easy-to-remember mnemonic:
How to Approach A Student
- Express your concern to the student citing the risk factors you have observed.
- I’m concerned about you. You seem so focused on death and dying lately.
- I’m worried about you. You’re not going to class anymore or talking with your friends.
- Ask about the other risk factors
- Ask about suicidal thoughts directly, use the word suicide. This does not increase the risk of a suicide occurring, in fact students are often relieved to have someone to talk to.
- Assist the student in finding solutions to their problems other than suicide.
- Emphasize that you are there to help and DO NOT leave the person alone. You can express:
- I can go with you to get some help to feel better.
- Let’s talk to someone who can help you feel safer.
- Never agree to keep serious suicidal thoughts in confidence. It’s important that a student with serious suicidal thoughts meet with a counseling professional so the student can receive the support they need.
- Be supportive and follow up with the student.
- Recognize the warning signs
- Take it seriously
- Be willing to listen
- Seek professional help
- Stay with them
- Leave the person alone
- Minimize the situation
- Try to argue the person out of suicide
Sad Persons List
One way to remember risk factors and warning signs is by the acronym SAD PERSONS
S – Sex – Male
A – Age – Youth and elderly are most vulnerable
D – Depression – Individual and family history of depression. How severe was the depression?
P – Previous Attempt – Conditions and recency of attempt? How was it resolved?
E – Ethanol – Alcohol abuse (especially in combination with depression)
R – Rational Thinking Loss – Only option (Does the person want to actually be dead or escape the pain? Can the person think of other ways to cope with the intense distress?)
S – Social Support Systems – How supported or alienated is the person feeling?
O – Organized Plan – Having a specific plan regarding when, how, where and/or what. The more detailed and imminent the plan is, the higher the person’s risk.
N – No romantic partner – Lack of a significant other, especially a recent break-up.
S – Sickness – Serious, debilitating actual or perceived illness