Suicide Threat or Attempt
If someone threatens suicide or manifests other self-destructive behaviors, a student, faculty or staff member’s reaction and responsiveness could result in a positive crisis resolution. Successful intervention involves establishing a supportive relationship with the individual. A University employee is not liable for a breach of confidence when action is taken on behalf of a student whose behavior may be harmful to him/her or others. Counseling services are provided on-campus through the Counseling Center (ext. 4079) for students and through Human Resources (ext. 4040) for employees. Other off-campus resources are listed in the Important Phone Numbers section at the beginning of this guide.
Please note that many of these warning signs are signs of depression. Depression does not necessarily mean that a person is contemplating suicide, but depressed people often think of suicide. There are non-verbal and verbal warning signs that may suggest one is contemplating suicide.
- Giving away personal or prized possessions.
- Making a will or putting other affairs in order.
- Increased alcohol or drug use.
- Sleeping too much or too little.
- Change in eating pattern.
- Lack of interest in personal appearance.
- Lack of interest in friends; withdrawing from others.
- Lack of interest in social activities that were formerly of interest.
- Poor performance in school.
- Boredom, restlessness, and loss of concentration.
- Suddenly happier or calmer—person feels relief in knowing problems will soon be over.
- Preoccupation with death.
- Taking unnecessary risks.
- Visiting or calling people one cares about.
- Statements about hopelessness, helplessness, or worthlessness.
Verbal warning signs may include such statements as:
Ways to help a person who may be suicidal:
- “Instructors, classmates, family, and friends don’t care.”
- ““Lately I’ve been driving my car like I really don’t care what happens.”
- ““I’ve been saving up my pills in case things get really bad.”
- ““People are better off without me.”
- ““Everything seems to be going wrong.”
- ““I don’t need this any more.”
- “ “Life isn’t worthwhile.”
If someone threatens or attempts to commit suicide:
- Talk openly and freely and ask direct questions about the individual’s intention.
- Listen to what is said and treat it seriously.
- Do not argue, debate, or lecture about whether or not suicide is right or wrong.
- Do not swear to secrecy.
- Do not offer platitudes or simple answers.
- Do not challenge the individual or use scare tactics.
- Do not leave the individual alone.
- Get help for the individual by contacting the following:
For students contact the Counseling Center (909-748-8108).
For employees contact Human Resources (909-748-8040).
After hours contact Public Safety (909-748-8888).
- Follow the instructions from counseling services or Public Safety and wait for a representative to arrive and/or accompany the individual to their location. Professional assistance will be determined by qualified professionals.
- If someone threatens to commit suicide notify Public Safety (909-748-8888). If someone has attempted suicide, immediately call 911.
- DO NOT LEAVE the person alone.
- Try to remove the individual calmly but firmly from immediate means of hurting him/herself.
- If the individual has a weapon, do not try to take it physically or through force. Alert emergency responders.
- Keep the area off limits and isolated until Public Safety, emergency medical personnel and/or police arrive.
- Render first aid, if necessary.
- Witnesses should be directed to stay in the area in case police or emergency services personnel need further information.