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How You Can Help

How You Can Help

Friends, Family, Coworkers, Professors, Roommates, RAs, Anyone…

Here are signs that someone may be having emotional troubles:

  • Withdrawal from social activities
  • Loss of interest in schoolwork, work and other activities
  • Abrupt changes in behavior, mood or appearance
  • Sleeping or eating problems
  • Low energy, excessive guilt or low self-esteem
  • Pursuit of dangerous activities
  • Preoccupation with death and dying
  • Reference to death or suicide in conversation, jokes or writings
  • Drug or alcohol problems
  • Reference to previous suicide attempts

Here are some suggestions about what you can do to help that person:

  • Take the signs seriously.
  • Ask to talk to the person.
  • Say you are concerned and point out what you’ve noticed.
  • Be willing to listen. Don’t judge, give advice or try to cheer him/her up.
  • If it’s unclear that the person is suicidal, ask, “Have things gotten so bad that you’re actually thinking of hurting yourself?” Asking about suicide is a sign of caring.
  • Don’t be sworn to secrecy. Say that you need to talk with someone to make sure he/she is safe.
  • If the person is acutely suicidal, they may do something right away. Don’t leave them alone. Have someone else promptly call 911 and campus security.