IF YOU URGENTLY NEED HELP WHEN CAPS IS NOT AVAILABLE, YOU CAN CALL THE CAMPUS POLICE AT 860-465-5310. IF YOU OR SOMEONE YOU KNOW IS EXPERIENCING AN EMERGENCY SITUATION, PLEASE CALL 911. THIS WILL NOTIFY BOTH THE WILLIMANTIC AND EASTERN POLICE DEPARTMENTS.
People become suicidal when they believe that they cannot tolerate overwhelming feelings. They feel as if there is no way out and that they will always feel the way they feel at that moment. These feeling can arise as the result of loss (the death of a loved one, the end of a relationship, a financial crisis), overwhelming depression, other mental health problems, a serious illness or any situation that seems hopeless to the person involved. Unfortunately, the intensity of such feelings often leads to an inability to consider alternatives to suicide. Please remember, alternatives do exist and there are many people available to help you handle this crisis.
Counseling and Psychological Services is the primary campus resource available to assist students who are feeling suicidal. CAPS is open from 8:30 AM until 4:30 PM and can be reached at 860-465-0181. You can also request help in-person at our office, which is located at 192 High Street.
Another option if you are feeling suicidal and would like to speak to someone now, or if you have other questions about suicide risk and the help that is available, you can call The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK.
ADDITIONAL INFORMATION ABOUT SUICIDE
What Factors Put Someone at Greater Risk for Suicide?
The first step in preventing suicide is to identify and understand the risk factors. A risk factor is anything that increases the likelihood that persons will harm themselves. However, risk factors are not necessarily causes. Research has identified the following risk factors for suicide:
- Previous suicide attempt(s)
- History of mental disorders, particularly depression.
- History of alcohol and substance abuse
- Family history of suicide
- Family history of child abuse and/or neglect
- Impulsive or aggressive tendencies
- Barriers to accessing mental health treatment
- Loss (relational, social, work, or financial)
- Physical illness
- Easy access to lethal methods
- Unwillingness to seek help because of the stigma attached to mental health and substance abuse disorders or suicidal thoughts
- Cultural and religious beliefs—for instance, the belief that suicide is a noble resolution of a personal dilemma
- Local epidemics of suicide
- Isolation, a feeling of being cut off from other people
What Are The Warning Signs That Someone May Be at Serious Risk for Suicide?
Seek help as soon as possible by contacting CAPS, the campus police or the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK if you or someone you know exhibits the following signs:
- Threatening to hurt or kill oneself or talking about wanting to hurt or kill oneself
- Looking for ways to kill oneself by seeking access to firearms, available pills, or other means
- Talking or writing about death, dying, or suicide when these actions are out of the ordinary for the person
- Feeling hopeless
- Feeling rage or uncontrolled anger or seeking revenge
- Acting reckless or engaging in risky activities – seemingly without thinking
- Feeling trapped – like there’s no way out
- Increasing alcohol or drug use
- Withdrawing from friends, family, and society
- Feeling anxious, agitated, or unable to sleep or sleeping all the time
- Experiencing dramatic mood changes
- Seeing no reason for living or having no sense of purpose in life
HOW TO HELP SOMEONE WHO IS FEELING SUICIDAL
When a friend or loved one is feeling suicidal, it can be a very scary experience. Remember to get support for yourself – never handle this alone – even if your friend asks you not to tell anyone. There is no exact way to prevent a suicide, but the following steps are recommended to decrease the risk of suicidal behavior:
1. Awareness: Know the warning signs: depression, increased drug or alcohol use, sudden calm mood, and talk of suicide, (see warning signs above for more details).
2. Be calm and accepting.
3. Pay attention and be non-judgmental. Let them know you take their feelings very seriously. A suicide attempt is never just a ploy for attention. It is a cry for help.
4. Listen attentively and encourage them to share what they are feeling. Allowing them to vent will lessen some of the pressure they feel inside. Ask if they have a plan and a means to carry out a suicide. Those who have a definite plan are in the most immediate danger.
5. Don’t leave them alone. If you must leave, contact someone you trust to take over.
6. Do not be afraid to ask if they are thinking of suicide. You are not giving them ideas that they haven’t already had.
7. Avoid the urge to problem-solve or offer judgment on how bad things really are. How serious the problem is less important than how serious it feels to them.
8. Keep them talking. As they tire, they will lose momentum and be less likely to act on their feelings.
9. Offer them a reason to go on in whatever form they will accept. Love of their children, hope that they can get well, even fear of a failed suicide attempt: all can help them hang on a bit longer until they get the treatment they need.
10. Encourage them to seek professional help as soon as possible. Let them know that depression is an illness and that it is very treatable. Help them make arrangements and take them to their appointment if necessary.
11. If you feel they are in immediate danger, don’t hesitate to contact 911 or other emergency number in your area. It is not a betrayal of friendship to get your loved one help. They may feel angry at the time, but this will pass.
12. Places you can take a suicidal person for help: a crisis center, ER, mental health center, or their own psychiatrist or family doctor.
Source: Compiled from various sites about how to help someone contemplating suicide.
HELPFUL RESOURCES AND LINKS
For more information about suicide risk factors in college students and what you can do to get help for yourself or someone else, please visit any of the sites below.
The Jed Foundation (the nation’s leading organization working to prevent suicide and promote mental health among college students).