How To

  • Hopelessness
  • Rage, anger, seeking revenge
  • Acting reckless or engaging in risky activities, seemingly without thinking
  • Feeling trapped – like there's no way out
  • Increasing alcohol or drug use
  • Withdrawing from friends, family or society
  • Anxiety, agitation, unable to sleep, or sleeping all the time
  • Dramatic mood changes
  • No reason for living; no sense of purpose in life

  • Ask. Be specific about your concerns when talking to them. “You haven’t left your room in over a week.”
  • Express care and concern.
  • Make time and space for the conversation. Do it in a safe, private space and make sure you have time to talk to them.
  • Ask if and how you can help them. Remember that you don’t have to be their counselor. You can always call the Counseling Center and speak to a counselor to get additional ideas for future conversations.
  • Don’t beat around the suicide bush. If you are picking up on thoughts of suicide, ask them about it directly.
  • Encourage or assist them in seeking help, if needed.
  • Refer them to the Counseling Center or other help centers.
  • Share with others the risk and preventative factors of suicide.
  • Reinforce preventative actions individuals can take if they are having thoughts of suicide or know someone who may be.
  • Educate yourself on the warning signs of suicide and become an advocate by Starting The Conversation with other individuals.
  • Provide concrete steps for finding help. Inform the person that help is available through the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline and through established service providers and crisis centers.

  • Highly Concerned: someone stating “I want to kill myself,” having a plan or looking for means to kill themselves, extreme self-neglect (prolonged lack of hygiene, not eating for extended periods of time), disconnected with reality (disorganized thoughts or speech, hallucinations, supernatural beliefs), cutting with serious or neglected wounds, violent behavior
  • Concerning, but not Emergent: someone expressing thoughts of suicide with no plans to act, withdrawn, short term appetite loss, short term lack of sleep, frequent crying, cutting with superficial wounds, angry mood

Don’t be alone in your concerns. Tell a supervisor, RA, advisor, etc. about your concern. You can always contact the Counseling Center to discuss your concern with a professional to gain insight and advice on how to address your concern.

  • Make yourself aware of local resources.
  • It can make it less threatening to know that someone else has asked for help and had a positive experience. If you personally have had a positive experience seeking help and are comfortable sharing it, feel free to talk about your experience.
  • It can make it less intimidating to go to the Counseling Center or call for help if someone walks them to the Counseling Center or sits nearby while they make the phone call. If you are willing to do either one, let them know you will do this for them if they want you there.
  • Respect their limits.
  • Ask them how it went. If they did not want to seek help, ask them if they’ve thought anymore about seeking help. Show you care about them. You can always call the Counseling Center and speak to a counselor to get additional ideas for future conversations.