SUICIDE WARNING SIGNS AND HOW TO HELP
Know Your Facts:
- Most suicidal individuals give warnings of their suicidal intentions
- The more clues and signs that are observed, the greater the risks.
- It can be tempting to dismiss or ignore signs that someone might be struggling with mental health issues. Please take all signs seriously.
- We often worry that talking with someone about whether they might hurt themselves could upset them or make them feel intruded upon. In fact, asking about how someone is doing is perceived as a caring action, and may save someone’s life.
Know the Warning Signs:
- Talking about wanting to die, feeling guilty, being a burden.
- Behavior changes, such as risk-taking, using drugs or alcohol more often, withdrawing from friends, saying goodbye, giving away items, making a plan or researching ways to die.
- Fearing being a burden to others
- Feeling extremely sad, anxious, angry to the point of thinking about not being alive as a viable option.
- Feeling hopeless, trapped, or unbearable emotional or physical pain.
If these warning signs apply to you or someone you know, get help as soon as possible:
- Ask the person about their thoughts and whether they are thinking about suicide
- Offer hope and support
- Refer them to a professional who can help
- Walk them over to the University Counseling Center (Monday-Friday, 9-5)
- Alert a staff person in Residence Life and/or the dean of student’s office that they need help
- Walk them over to the Student Health Center or call Public Safety if it’s after-hours
- Talk with them about reaching out to their family
Make an appointment at the counseling center yourself or call and speak with a counselor if you need help thinking through the best steps to take to help someone.
Please don’t feel you need to take on the role of therapist or counselor or to keep information “secret.”. You cannot be fully responsible for anyone’s well-being. Being compassionate, listening, and supportive can help someone in need but don’t feel like you need to handle everything alone. Encourage them to get help and support and seek consultation if you feel overwhelmed.
Someone is in immediate danger IF…
- … they have told you about a plan to harm themselves
- … they have written a suicide note
- … they have obtained a means of hurting themselves
- … they have told you that they recently tried to hurt themselves
- … they are acting strangely and not making sense
- … they ingested an overdose or a damaging substance
- … they are unconscious
Who should you call if someone is in immediate danger?
- Call Public Safety - 610-519-4444
- Call 911
- Call 988 from any phone – National Suicide Hotline
- Take the student to a nearby Emergency Department
- Notify the Dean of Students Office – 610-519-4200
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-TALK or Crisis Text Line, text “HELLO” to 741741
National Institute of Mental Health www.nimh.nih.gov/suicideprevention
HOW TO GET HELP
Free, confidential counseling is available at the University Counseling Center, 206 Health Services Building, 610-519-4050.