Admissions & Aid
College is a huge adjustment for most people regardless of their age or background. For some, this transition is more stressful than for others. If you have noticed changes in someone you know that concern you, you can help. You may be aware of troubling signs that something is wrong with a friend that relatives, professors, and others may not detect. In fact, it is difficult even for experts to understand who is at serious risk of suicide and who is not. Surprisingly, the risk for suicide can sometimes increase as a person begins to recover from depression, and people considering suicide might actually seem calmer or happier. Many of the warning signs for suicide could also indicate problems with drug or alcohol abuse, domestic violence, depression, or another mental illness. People with these problems need help, too.
Some warning signs demand immediate action:
Certain people are at higher risk for suicide, such as those individuals:
If you think that any of your friends or classmates might be thinking about hurting themselves, there are important things you can do:
Ask them if they are thinking about hurting themselves. You may have to be persistent before they are willing to talk. Listen non-judgmentally and don’t pretend you have the answers. Talking about suicide will not push someone to kill themselves. Express your concern for the person. Suicidal people often feel as though no one understands them or that they aren’t taken seriously. Talking through feelings may help a friend recognize the need for professional help.
It is also not true that people who talk about killing themselves will not actually try it, so always take any intention, feelings, or suicidal behaviors very seriously. You should be especially concerned if people tell you that they have made a detailed suicide plan or know of a way to hurt themselves. Don’t leave them alone. The most important thing you can do may be to help them find help. Never promise to keep someone’s intention to kill him or herself a secret. Develop a plan for help with the person.
Find someone who is concerned with and understands young people and can help, such as a teacher, counselor, coach, a member of your friend’s family or a religious leader. If you think your friend is in danger and refuses to get help, or if you don’t feel that you know the person well enough, you should speak to an adult who can intervene.
If the danger is immediate, always call 911.