While it is rare, there may be some situations where emergency help is necessary.
The following circumstances call for immediate action and attention. You should call 9-1-1 if you notice your student/friend:
- has a weapon and is threatening to use it. If this is the case, make sure you leave the room immediately for your own safety.
- is threatening immediate harm to him/herself (e.g., jumping out of a window, stepping in front of traffic)
- has engaged in a behavior that requires medical attention (e.g., has taken pills, has cut themselves)
In situations where it is not an emergency it is still important that you don't try and deal with this alone. This means connecting your student/friend to a mental health professional.
Talk with others. This is extremely important! Do not allow yourself to be the only one helping a suicidal student/friend. Recognize the limits of your expertise and responsibility. Share your concerns with family, friends, or appropriate staff members.
Let your student/friend know that help is available, help is effective, and that seeking help is the courageous thing to do. You could even offer to accompany them to their first appointment with a doctor or counselor, or could help them schedule the appointment. UT Telephone Counseling is available 24 hours a day to them and to you 512-471-CALL (2255) (UT Students Only), and CMHC is available M-F 8-5 for urgent walk-in appointments for students in serious distress. You could walk to CMHC with them, or give them the phone number to call (512-471-3515).
If you're still concerned, and the student is not willing to seek help, call the Behavior Concerns Advice Line (512-232-5050). Do not be bound by secrecy. An angry friend is better is better than a dead one.
Follow up with your student/friend that you're concerned about. Oftentimes people are uncomfortable talking to a suicidal person a second time because "they don't want to remind them of their misery," "they don't want to make them uncomfortable," or they figure 'if they need to talk to me again, they will." The fact is that most people in distress feel like a burden to others, and are unlikely to bring this issue up again. It is important to let your student/friend know that you are still thinking about them and care about them, and, most importantly, it is important that you follow up to insure that they have received help.