Information Resource - Suicide Awareness

Common Warning Signs

  • Giving away favorite possessions
  • A marked or noticeable change in an individual's behavior
  • Previous suicide attempts and statements revealing a desire to die.
  • Depression (crying, insomnia, inability to think or function, excessive sleep or appetite loss).
  • Inappropriate "goodbyes".
  • Verbal behavior that is ambiquous or indirect. "I'm going away on a real long trip... You won't have to worry about me anymore... I want to go to sleep and never wake up."
  • Purchase of a gun or pills.
  • Alcohol or drug use.
  • Sudden happiness after a long depression.
  • Obsession about death and talk about suicide.
  • Decline in performance of work, school or other activities.
  • Deteriorating physical appearance or reckless actions.

High-Risk Life Events Associated with Suicide:

  • Death or terminal illness of a loved one.
  • Divorce, separation, or broken relationship.
  • Loss of health (real or imaginary).
  • Loss of job, home, money, self-esteem, personal security.
  • Anniversaries.
  • Difficulties with school, family, the law.
  • Early stages of recovery from depression.

What to Do:

  • Take suicide threats seriously, be direct, open and honest in communications.
  • Listen, allow the individual to express their feelings and express your concerns in a nonjudgmental way.
  • Say things like, "I'm here for you... Let's talk... I'm here to help."
  • Ask, "Are you having suicidal thoughts? A detailed plan indicates greater risk.
  • Take action sooner rather than later.
  • Get the individual who is at risk connected with professional help.
  • Dispose of pills, drugs and guns.
  • Don't worry about being disloyal to the individual; contact a reliable family member or close friend of the person.

What Not to Do:

  • Do not leave the person alone, even if you feel the risk to their safety immediate.
  • Do not treat the threat lightly--even if the person begins to joke about it.
  • Do not act shocked or condemn. There may not be another cry for help.
  • Do not point out to them how much better off they are than others. This increases feelings of guilt and worthlessness.
  • Do not swear yourself to secrecy.
  • Do not offer simple solutions.
  • Do not suggest drugs or alcohol as a solution.
  • Do not judge the person.
  • Avoid arguments.
  • Do not try to counsel the person yourself, get professional help!

    **From Muskingum County Suicide Prevention Coaltion's Suicide Prevention Fact Card.

Where to Get Help

The Muskingum University Counseling Office at 826-8091 or 826-8142. If you need to talk to a counselor and it is after office hours, call campus police at 826-8155 and they can reach us. You can also contact your Area Coordinator or RA and they will be able to reach one of us to come and talk with you.
Six County, Inc. Crisis Hotline: 453-5818 or 1-800-344-5818
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-TALK

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