Recognizing and Responding to Signs of Distress in Students
Listening, supporting, and encouraging your friends can really make a difference in their life. Sometimes you might hesitate to bring up a concern because you are afraid you will upset your friend, hurt your friendship, or prompt them to do something harmful to themselves, but most of the time your friend will be grateful to know that someone cared enough to reach out and take a risk.
If you see these signs you should be thinking about reaching out or letting someone know:
Responding to Students in Distress
Making a Referral to the Counseling Center – Some Suggestions for What You Can Say:
Asking about Suicide
Asking a friend whether they are thinking about suicide can feel uncomfortable and even frightening. You cannot increase someone’s risk of hurting themselves just by bringing up the topic. Many students feel very relieved when someone realizes they are hurting so much that they are having thoughts about not wanting to be alive. Even though someone might be thinking about suicide, it doesn’t mean they have a clear plan. The opportunity to have a conversation with a caring person can significantly reduce the risk that a student will actually harm themselves.
Signs a student might be considering suicide include:
Events associated with increased risk include:
Responding to Concerns about Suicide
If you have ANY concern that a student might be considering suicide, you should ask them directly about your concerns. Here are some ways you can ask:
-Have you had any thoughts of suicide?
-Are you thinking about taking your own life?
-Do things ever get so bad that you have thoughts of wanting to die?
Kognito is an interactive role-play simulation for students that builds awareness, knowledge, and skills about mental health and suicide prevention, and prepares users to lead real-life conversations with fellow students in distress and connect them with support. Click on the picture below to be directed to the online training.