Counseling Services

Suicide Awareness

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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 Services Office at (740) 826-8091 (Leah Shirer). If you need to talk to a counselor and it is after office hours, call Campus Police at (740) 826-8155 and they can reach us. You can also contact your Area Coordinator or RA for assistance. 
Allwell Behavioral Health Crisis Hotline: (740) 453-5818 or 1-800-344-5818
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-TALK (8255)
Crisis Text Line: Text HOME to 741741



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