Your responsibilities are not to
diagnose or provide therapy; it is the development of a compassionate and
forthright conversation that ultimately helps a student in trouble find
understanding, support, and the proper therapeutic resources.
suicide is a rare event (i.e., 5 to 7 for every 100,000 college students per year),
it is the second leading cause of death among college students after vehicle
accidents and before alcohol related deaths.
ideation is often associated with major depression, a combination of acute anxiety
and depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, drug and alcohol abuse, bipolar
disorder and/or intimate relationship issues.
who are suicidal often, but not always, tell people about their thoughts or
give clues to others about their feelings.
confident to ask directly about suicide (i.e., “Are you thinking of suicide or
Are you thinking of killing or harming yourself”). Asking a student if they are
suicidal will not put the idea in
their head if it isn’t there already. Rather, it will bring a secret out into
the open, which is the first step to a solution. A student who is suicidal and
confides in someone is often highly ambivalent about suicide and open to
who are at high risk usually have a specific plan, a means that is lethal
(e.g., medication, knife, gun), a time frame in which they will kill themselves
and tend to be or feel isolated. An individual who is at high risk can sometimes
be a threat to others or homicidal.
vital to seek professional support for the student as soon as possible. Do not
minimize the situation, argue with the student, or assume the family knows that
the student has problems.
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