Suicide it is the second leading cause of death among college students. When someone is at risk for suicide, you may notice changes in their academic performance, personality, attitude or behavior. While any one of the signs below is worthy of concern, a combination of several signs indicates a higher level of risk. It is important to know that help and treatment for people at risk of suicide are widely available.
Recognize the Risks/Warning Signs
- Expression of desire to kill him/herself or wishing to be dead
- Seeking for ways to kill themselves or a presence of a plan to harm self
- Means are available to carry out a plan to harm him/herself
- High stress due to a loss, feelings of failure, or illness
- Ignoring assignments, missing classes
- Talking or writing about death, dying, or suicide in person, in their coursework, via text, email or social media, etc.
- Significant changes in weight, hygiene, eating or sleeping patterns
- Loss of interest in activities, social isolation or withdrawal
- Increasing the use of alcohol or drugs
- Emotional outbursts, anxiety and/or agitation, dramatic mood changes
- Self-destructiveness, acting reckless or engaging in risky activities
- Hopelessness, lacking sense of purpose in life, and reason for living
- Saying goodbye, giving away possessions
Verbal indications of hopelessness and suicidal ideation include statements such as:
- “I’m so tired of it all.”
- “Everyone would be better off without me.”
- “Life is not worth living.”
- “Nothing matters anymore.”
- “I want to die." or "I wish I were dead.”
Please note that this list is not exhaustive, there may be other signs or symptoms.
- Always take suicidal thoughts and warning signs seriously.
- Be open and direct about your concerns for the student.
- Be supportive and non-judgmental.
- Encourage them to seek the help of a mental health professional.
- If you fear for their immediate safety, call 911.
- Alternatively, arrange for transportation to the nearest hospital emergency room. Note: If someone is agitated or potentially violent, avoid putting yourself in a personally dangerous situation – call 911 rather than bringing someone to the hospital yourself.
- Call 911 or University Police for your specific campus (if at imminent risk)
- If the threat is not immediate, but you are concerned the student may be at risk to
harm him or herself call:
- Student Counseling Center: (Troy campus) 334-670-3700 or *your community mental health agency
- Dean of Students Services: (Troy campus) 334-670-3203 or the Dean for your specific campus
*If your campus location does not offer on-campus counseling, it is important to identify your community mental health agency and other mental health professionals in your area.
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline
ULifeline: Your Online Resource for College Mental Health
American Foundation for Suicide Prevention