If you are concerned that a student/friend is thinking about killing him/herself, it is important that you don't try and deal with the situation alone. This means connecting your student/friend to a mental health professional.
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 the individual is not willing to seek help, you can also call the UT Behavior Concerns Advice Line (512-232-5050) to seek consultation on what else you can do to help.
Talk with others.
This is extremely important! Do not allow yourself to be the only one helping a suicidal person. Recognize the limits of your expertise and responsibility. Share your concerns with family, friends, or appropriate staff members. If you're still concerned, 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.
There may be some instances when emergency services are required. 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)
There are a variety of services on and off campus that can support students in distress who are considering suicide.
Off campus/Additional Resources
Links for more information
24-Hour Telephone Counseling
Talk to a trained counselor 24/7/365
Get connected to another person who can help
You don't have to deal with stress alone
Interactive Stress Management Site
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