Who Is At Risk For Suicide?

People who feel life is hopeless and believe they are helpless to change their situations may be at risk for suicide. Most people will have experienced many sad or stressful life circumstances before becoming suicidal.

Are There Signs Or Warning Signals That A Person May Be Suicidal? Yes. They include:

Symptoms of Depression

Behaviors that suggest preparing for death

Is It True That People Who Threaten Suicide Will Not Do It? No. The great majority of people who commit suicide talk about their intention to kill themselves.

Threats may be direct as in, "All I can think about is wanting to die." Or indirect, "At least I won't have to put up with these problems much longer."

Do People Who Attempt Suicide Really Want To Die?

Some do but many do not. Almost everyone who thinks about suicide is ambivalent. They want their problems to end, their situation to change, their pain to stop. Only when they feel there is no one who can help does death seem to them the best solution. Suicide threats should be understood as a cry for help.

How Can I Help A Person Who May Be Thinking About Suicide?

Listen carefully: How does the person feel? Is he thinking clearly about his problems? Are there direct or indirect threats of death?

Convey interest and concern: Encourage expression of feelings and concerns by asking questions that clarify problems and suggest the possibility of solutions. Remember that a person who is thinking about suicide is seeking a solution to a problem. Convey confidence that with help, solutions other than suicide can be found.

If after talking about problems and feelings for awhile, you are not sure, ask the person whether he/she is thinking about killing himself/herself.

Be non-judgmental: Whatever your own belief about suicide may be, do not convey negative judgments about someone who is thinking about suicide. Remember that it is seldom possible to fully understand someone else's pain.

Involve other people: Encourage the person to tell other concerned or helpful people how he/she is feeling. Let the person know that you may have to tell someone else, too. Never agree to keep suicidal thinking a secret.

How Can I Know When The Crisis Is Over?

When a verbal agreement to seek specific solutions other than suicide has been made.

When a qualified helper has been informed about the problems and risks of suicide. This person could be a parent, a dorm counselor, a doctor or a counselor.

When the person arranges to go to a safe protective place, such as the home of a relative, or the emergency room of a hospital.

Can All Suicides Be Prevented?

No. Although most people give some warning sign before killing themselves, sometimes they are so indirect or subtle that they are not recognized. Once a person has decided to commit suicide, it may not be possible to stop him. Suicides have occurred even in protected environments.

If Someone You Know Commits Suicide...

Be aware that conflicting feelings and upsetting thoughts are often a natural reaction to loss by suicide.

Talk about your feelings with someone you trust to be supportive.

Remind yourself that no matter what happened, you cannot be responsible for someone else's actions.

There is nothing wrong with you if you feel angry or you want to go on enjoying your own life.

Where Do I Get Help?

Student Counseling Center
8:00 a.m.-4:30 p.m. weekdays
Schwitzer Center, Suite 210

University of Indianapolis Police Department

Suicide Hotline (24 hour support)

Related Topics:
Suicide Prevention