UNDERSTANDING AND PREVENTING SUICIDE
College life can be exciting and fun. Some say it is the best years of their lives. Unfortunately for some it si the last years of their lives. Suicide among college students is on the rise. Besides worrying about grades, a student may set unrealistic goals for themselves which cause them to become distraught. They may have financial problems or feel depressed due to the breakup of a relationship. Some may have problems at home. Some people have less coping skills than others and can feel overwhelmed with life's problems. If these feelings persist they can seem too much of a burden and the person begins to have thoughts of ending it all with suicide.
People desperately want to live; they are just unable to see alternatives to their problems. Most suicidal persons give definite warning signs of their suicidal intentions, but others are either unaware of the significance of these warning signs or do not know how to respond to them.
Talking about suicide does not cause someone to be suicidal. Approximately 30,000 Americans kill themselves every year. The number of suicide attempts is much greater yet and often results in serious injuries. Suicide is the third leading cause of death among young people ages 15-24, and is the eighth leading cause of death among all persons.
Four times as many men kill themselves compared to women, yet three or four times as many women attempt suicide compared to men. Suicide cuts across all age, economic, social and ethnic boundaries. Firearms are currently the most utilized method of suicide by essentially all groups (e.g., males, females, young, old, white, non-white) and the rates are increasing. Surviving family members not only suffer the trauma of losing a loved one, but are themselves at higher risk for suicide and emotional problems.
Suicide is preventable!
Be Aware of the Warning Signs
There is no typical suicide victim. It happens to you and old, rich and poor, white and non-white. Fortunately, there are some common warning signs which, when acted upon, can save lives. Here are some signs to watch for.
A suicidal person may:
- Talk about committing suicide
- Have trouble eating or sleeping
- Experience drastic changes in behavior
- Withdraw from friends and social activities
- Lose interest in hobbies, work, school, etc.
- Make out a will and final arrangements
- Give away prized possessions
- Have attempted suicide before
- Take unnecessary risks
- Have had a recent severe loss
- Be preoccupied with death and dying
- Lost interest in personal appearance
- Increase the use of alcohol or drugs
Ways to Be Helpful to Someone Who is Threatening Suicide
- Learn the warning signs.
- Become available. Show interest and support.
- Ask if he or she is thinking about suicide.
- Be direct. Talk openly and freely about suicide.
- Be willing to listen. Allow expressions of feelings. Accept the feelings.
- Be non-judgmental. Don't debate whether suicide is wrong or right, or feelings are good or bad. Don't lecture on the value of life.
- Don't give advice by making decisions for someone else.
- Don't ask "why." This encourages defensiveness.
- Offer empathy, not sympathy.
- Don't act shocked. This will put distance between you.
- Don't be sworn to secrecy. Seek Support.
- Offer hope that alternatives are available, but do not offer glib reassurance. It only proves you don't understand.
Take action. Remove means, Get help from persons or agencies specializing in crisis intervention and suicide prevention.
Be Aware of Feelings
Nearly everyone at some time in his or her life thinks about committing suicide. Most decide to live because they eventually come to the realization that the crisis is temporary and death is not. On the other hand, most people having a crisis often perceive their dilemmma as inescapable and feel an utter loss of control. These are some of the feelings and things they experience.
- Can't stop the pain
- Can't think clearly
- Can't make decisions
- Can't see any way out
- Can't sleep, eat or work
- Can't get out of depression
- Can't make the sadness go away
- Can't see a future without pain
- Can't see themselves as worthwhile
- Can't get someone's attention
- Can't seem to get control
If you experience these feelings, get help! If someone you know exhibits these symptoms, offer help!
Who to contact if you, or you suspect someone, may be considering suicide:
|ISU Campus Security||282-2515|
|The Dean of Students||282-2315|
|The Counseling & Testing Center||282-2130|
|Pocatello Police Non-Emergency||234-6100|
|Suicide Prevention Hotline||1-800-273-8255