How to Help Yourself
If you are considering suicide yourself, please talk with someone about it and get help. Come by the Counseling Center or call (478-5541) and speak with someone who can help you. At least tell a friend, a family member, a professor, a minister, a coach, an RA, or someone else with whom you are comfortable. You can also call Public Safety (478-5234), Georgia Crisis & Access Line (1-800-715-4225), or even 911.
How to Help Someone Else
If anyone tells you they are thinking about suicide, do NOT ignore them! Do not minimize their message or hope they didn’t really mean it. It is important to take them very seriously and to take action quickly. You should call the Counseling Center (478-5541) and consult with a psychologist on staff. You can also call Public Safety (478-5234), 911, or the hospital emergency room (486-1000) for assistance. You don’t have to take on the responsibility of helping someone by yourself. Get professional help! Other tips for helping a suicidal person…
- Take the person’s statements seriously.
- Listen nonjudgmentally and with acceptance and concern.
- Don’t be afraid to talk or ask directly about the topic of suicide. Talking about suicide will not give a person the idea. It is likely he or she has already been thinking about it.
- Get assistance. Consult with the Counseling Center. Help the person get a professional evaluation and treatment.
- If the person is in imminent danger, do not leave him/her alone.
- If the person is in suicidal crisis, limit access to firearms or other lethal means of committing suicide and call the Police (911) for help.
- Realize that people consider suicide when they are hopeless and unable to see alternative solutions to problems. They may not be able to seek help on their own.
Suicide Warning Signs
While no one can predict with great accuracy who may attempt suicide, the following signs may indicate a risk of suicidal behavior.
- Verbalizing suicidal thoughts and feelings. Someone at risk for suicide may also express thoughts and feelings about death in writing or artwork.
- Depression. Being clinically depressed increases a person’s risk for suicide. Signs of depression include:
- Depressed, sad, or down mood
- Feelings of hopelessness, helplessness, and/or worthlessness
- Insomnia or excessive sleeping
- Significant loss or gain of appetite or weight
- Difficulty concentrating
- Decreased interest or pleasure in activities that were once enjoyable
- Restlessness, irritability, or excessive crying
- Previous suicide attempts.
- Preoccupation with death.
- Significant loss. This can be the loss of a loved one, a relationship, physical health, or of any important aspect of a person’s life.
- Alcohol or drug abuse, or an increase in alcohol/drug use. This can lead to poor judgment, impulsivity, and a loss of inhibition.
- Having a suicidal plan. The more specific the plan, the higher the risk.
- Giving things away or making final arrangements.
- Significant change in behavior (e.g., mood, acting out) or functioning (e.g., academic, social, occupational).
If you have questions or concerns, or you would like to consult with someone at the Counseling Center, please do not hesitate to contact us at 478-5541.
According to the National Institute of Mental Health:
- More women than men report a history of attempted suicide, with a gender ratio of 3:1.
- More men than women are likely to complete a suicide attempt with a gender ratio of 4:1. In 1999 suicide was the 8th leading cause of death for males.
- There are an estimated 8-25 attempted suicides to one completion with the ratio being higher in women and youth.
- In 1999, suicide was the 3rd leading cause of death among young people 15 to 24 years of age, following unintentional injuries and homicide.
Myths About Suicide
From The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and The University of Texas at Austin
- MYTH: “People who talk about suicide don’t commit suicide.”
- FACT: Eight out of 10 people who have killed themselves have verbalized their intent beforehand.
- MYTH: “Talking about suicide may give a person the idea.”
- FACT: The crisis and resulting emotional distress will already have triggered the thought in a vulnerable person. Your openness and concern in asking about suicide will allow the person experiencing pain to talk about the problem which may help reduce his or her anxiety. This may also allow the person with suicidal thoughts to feel less lonely or isolated, and perhaps a bit relieved.
- MYTH: “Only certain types of people commit suicide.”
- FACT: All types of people commit suicide-male and female, young and old, rich and poor, country people and city people. It happens in every racial, ethnic and religious group.
- MYTH: “When a suicidal person begins to feel better, the danger is over.”
- FACT: Most suicides occur within 90 days following improvement in the person’s mental-emotional status.
- MYTH: “Once a person has made a serious suicide attempt, that person is unlikely to make another.”
- FACT: The opposite is often true. Persons who have made prior suicide attempts may be at greater risk of actually committing suicide; for some, suicide attempts may seem easier a second or third time.
- MYTH: “People who attempt suicide are merely looking for attention.”
- FACT: People who threaten or attempt suicide are really reaching out for help. Calling this manipulative in no way diminishes the potential lethality of their actions.
- MYTH: “You have to be crazy even to think about suicide.”
- FACT: Most people have thought of suicide form time to time. Most suicides and suicide attempts are made by intelligent, temporarily confused individuals who are expecting too much of themselves, especially in the midst of a crisis.
- MYTH: “If a person is seriously considering suicide, there is nothing you can do.”
- FACT: Most suicide crises are time-limited and based on unclear thinking. Persons attempting suicide want to escape from their problems. Instead, they need to confront their problems directly in order to find other solutions–solutions which can be found with the help of concerned individuals who support them through the crisis period, until they are able to think more clearly.
Last updated: 12/23/2016