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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.
- 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