Suicide can be prevented. While some suicides occur without any outward warning, most do not. Most people who feel suicidal give warning signs that they intend to die by suicide, but those close to them are often unaware of the significance of these signals or are unsure of what to do. Most suicidal people also desperately want to live but are unable to find an effective way to cope with their thoughts and feelings.
There are many reasons why individuals engage in suicidal behaviors. Factors that may contribute to the appearance or increase in suicidal behaviors in college students include:
- New and unfamiliar environment
- Difficulties adjusting to new demands and different work loads
- Lack of adequate social and coping skills
- Academic and social pressures
- Feelings of failure or decreased performance
- Sense of alienation and lack of social support
- Emerging mental illness or family history of mental illness
The most effective way to prevent suicide is to know the warning signs, take those signs seriously, and know how to respond when you experience them yourself or see them in a friend or classmate. The important thing to remember is that there is hope for people who are suicidal. The following sections will help you know how to be of help to yourself or someone you know who may be at risk for suicide.
Please see the Guide to Managing Student Distress and Disruption for information about how to identify and respond to students in distress.