Title: The danger of suicide: responding to students in distress
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Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00087100/00001
 Material Information
Title: The danger of suicide: responding to students in distress
Physical Description: Book
Language: English
Creator: Division of Student Affairs, University of Florida
Publisher: University of Florida Division of Student Affairs
Place of Publication: Gainesville, Fla.
Publication Date: 2008
 Subjects
Subject: University of Florida.   ( lcsh )
Spatial Coverage: North America -- United States of America -- Florida
 Record Information
Bibliographic ID: UF00087100
Volume ID: VID00001
Source Institution: University of Florida
Holding Location: University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved, Board of Trustees of the University of Florida

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THE DANGER OF SUICIDE

Suicide is the third leading cause of death among
15 to 24 year olds in the U.S. and the second
leading cause of death among college age students.
Suicide claims more lives each year in the U.S. than
homicide. In a national survey of college students,
9.5% reported thinking seriously about suicide and
1.5% reported having made a suicide attempt.


SUICIDE RISK FACTORS

Unbearable psychological pain is the common
element of suicide. People consider killing
themselves when they lose hope of finding another
way to stop the pain. The risk factors listed below
do not predict how any individual will behave.
Many people may show some of these signs
without ever trying to kill themselves. These are
signs that let us know something may be seriously
wrong and give us an opportunity to reach out and
offer help.

Significant loss

Prolonged stress

Unrelieved symptoms of mental health
problems (especially depression)

Noticeable changes in personality or lifestyle

Social isolation

Loss of interest in activities

Direct or indirect statements about suicide or
hopelessness

Preoccupation with death

Making a plan or other preparations

History of previous suicide attempts)












RESPONDING TO STUDENTS
IN DISTRESS

There are three basic steps for responding to students
in emotional distress:

1 Deal with Safety Concerns

Rule out any emergency needs requiring immediate
response. If there is imminent danger to the student or
to others, call UPD at 392-1111 if you are on campus,
or 911 if you are off campus. Establishing safety is
essential and emergency responders are trained to
intervene in these circumstances.



2 Listen to the Student
Whether or not you know how to fix the problem,
genuine concern can provide a human connection at a
critical moment. Sometimes a student may only need
someone to listen for a short time in order to clarify
concerns and validate feelings. The student can then
be referred to a resource working within the university
system, if needed. Students with suicide risk factors
should be referred for professional help. Yet even those
who are not suicidal may need more help than you can
provide. There are many campus and community
resources that can offer professional help, including
crisis intervention, counseling for the student and
consultation for you. The resources are listed at the
back of this brochure.

3 Encourage Hope for the Future

Often people in crisis may not be thinking clearly and
are in a state of confusion. You can acknowledge this
and remind them not to make any significant decisions
during this time. This crisis is not usually a permanent
state and there may be alternatives that provide hope
for the future.



















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WHAT IF THE STUDENT
REFUSES HELP?

It is important to be prepared for potential
obstacles when helping a student in distress.
Some students will refuse help. If a student refuses
your recommendation to speak to a counselor,
there are still some things you can do. Consider
the following options if safety is established:

I Call for consultation with a counselor. Faculty,
staff, friends and family should not have to be
responsible for decisions about suicide danger.

2. Call the Dean of Students Office
(352.392.1261 or 352.392.1111 after-hours);
a dean may be able to assist.

3. Call the residence life professional staff
(3 52.392.2161 xI 0 139) if the student resides
in campus housing.

STAYING INVOLVED
Even when a student has talked to a counselor,
it does not mean s/he has followed- through with
treatment. Call back if you notice that the
student's risk appears to persist or increase. Keep
in mind that counseling resources are governed by
confidentiality laws. Follow-up information
cannot be disclosed unless the student has signed
a release of information.

Working with suicidal students can be challenging
and even frightening. However, getting involved
can make a difference and can help prevent suicide.










GUIDELINES FOR HELPING

Deal with safety concerns
Listen emphatically to the student
Talk openly about suicide
Get the student appropriate help
Consult with a counselor


COUNSELING RESOURCES

COUNSELING CENTER
UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA
301 Peabody Hall
352-392.1575 www.counsel.ufl.edu

STUDENT MENTAL HEALTH SERVICES
UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA
352.392.1171 http://www.shcc.ufl.edu/smhs
[24-hour phone consultation]

ALACHUA COUNTY CRISIS CENTER
352.264.6789 [24-hour crisis hotline]

SUICIDE PREVENTION LIFELINE
1.800.273.8255

PSYCHOLOGY CLINIC (fee required)
UF Health Science Center, Shands G-901
352.265.0294 www.hp.ufl.edu/chp/dinic/index.hrml


OTHER CAMPUS RESOURCES

DEAN OF STUDENTS OFFICE
352.392.1261 www.dso.ufl.edu

CAMPUS MINISTRIES COOPERATIVE
352.392.1261 CONTACT DEAN OF STUDENTS

UNIVERSITY POLICE DEPARTMENT
352-392.1111


DeVeloped by the staff of the Counseling Center
and Student Mental Health Services


Funded by the Family Fund of
the Division of Student Affairs
EDUCATING LEADERS FOR A GLOBAL COMMUNITY

This brochure is available in
alternative print format upon request.




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