Division of Student Affairs




Are you or is someone you know thinking about suicide? If so, please take the time to read this page. It only takes a few minutes and it may help you to consider options other than suicide that you might not have considered before. If you are the friend of someone contemplating suicide, this may give you the words you need to help save a friend’s life.

If you are thinking about suicide read this first…. http://www.metanoia.org/suicide/
Suicide is the 8th leading cause of death in the United States. Each year approximately 30,000 people commit suicide. For college students it is the 2nd leading cause of death and the third leading cause of death among 15-24 year olds.

When you consider the fact that suicide is a preventable death in that it’s a choice someone makes, doesn’t it make sense to consider all of your options before making a decision that you can’t take back? Many times, ordinary problems that seem insurmountable are the reasons people commit suicide. It may seem at the time of the distress that there are no other options when, in fact, there are other possibilities to consider. Below is some important information regarding suicide.

As you read this information you may see similarities in your situation and begin to see that you are not alone and can get help.


  • Untreated or acute depression or other mental illness
  • Situational Crises (e.g., breakup with significant other, being dismissed, death of a loved one, etc.)
  •  Alcohol and other drug use (risk taking behaviors and overdose)
  • Firearms (possessing or having access to guns)
  • Previous attempts
  • Any combination of the above


Most suicidal people are depressed.  Millions of Americans are affected by depression each year.  It is the most common mental illness and more importantly it is the most treatable. Therefore, if one can detect and treat his/her depression before suicide is considered, many lives can be saved.

Symptoms of depression:

  • Depressed or sad mood most of the day, nearly every day
  • Markedly diminished interest or pleasure in all, or almost all, activities
  •  Significant weight loss when not dieting or weight gain or increase/decrease in appetite
  •  Difficulty sleeping or excessive sleeping
  •  Irritability
  •  Withdrawal or isolation from others
  • Physical fatigue or unexplained body aches
  • Lack of self care
  • Feelings of worthlessness or excessive or inappropriate guilt
  • Diminished ability to think or concentrate (indecisiveness)
  • Thoughts of suicide or death

If you experience five or more of these symptoms for at least a two week period you may have major depression. Contact The Counseling Center at (203) 837-8690 if you wish to speak with a therapist.

Warning Signs:

A large majority of people who attempt suicide give warning signs prior to the attempt. These warning signs include behavioral and situational clues, as well as, direct or indirect verbal communications:

Behavioral Clues:

  • Any previous suicide attempt
  • Acquiring a gun or stockpiling pills
  • Co-occurring depression, moodiness, hopelessness
  •  Putting personal affairs in order
  • Giving away prized possessions
  • Sudden interest or disinterest in religion
  • Drug or alcohol abuse, or relapse after a period of recovery
  • Unexplained anger, aggression and irritability

Situational Clues:

  • Being fired or being expelled / dismissed from school
  • A recent unwanted move
  • Loss of any major relationship
  • Death of a spouse, child, or best friend, especially if by suicide
  • Diagnosis of a serious or terminal illness
  •  Sudden unexpected loss of freedom/fear of punishment
  • Anticipated loss of financial security
  • Loss of a cherished therapist, counselor or teacher
  • Fear of becoming a burden to others

Direct Verbal Clues:

  • “I’ve decided to kill myself.”
  • “I wish I were dead.”
  • “I’m going to commit suicide.”
  • “I’m going to end it all.”
  • “If (such and such) doesn’t happen, I’ll kill

Indirect or Coded Verbal Clues:

  • “I’m tired of life, I just can’t go on.”
  • “My family would be better off without me.”
  • “Who cares if I’m dead anyway.”
  • “I just want out.”
  • “I won’t be around much longer.”
  • “Pretty soon you won’t have to worry about me.”


When a friend or loved one is feeling suicidal, it can be a very scary experience. There is no exact way to prevent a suicide, but the following steps are recommended to decrease the risk of suicidal behavior:

Remember to get support for yourself— never handle this alone—even if your friend asks you not to tell anyone.

  1. Awareness: Know the warning signs: depression, increased drug or alcohol use, sudden calm mood, and talk of suicide,  
         (see warning signs above for more details).
  2. Be calm and accepting.
  3. Pay attention and be non judgmental. Let them know you take their feelings very seriously. A suicide attempt is never just a ploy for attention. It is a cry for help.
  4.  Listen attentively and encourage them to share what they are feeling. Allowing them to vent will lessen some of the pressure they feel inside. Ask if they have a plan and a means to carry out a suicide. Those who have a definite plan are in the most immediate danger.
  5. Don’t leave them alone. If you must leave, contact someone you trust to take over.
  6. Do not be afraid to ask if they are thinking of suicide. You are not giving them ideas that they haven’t already had.
  7. Avoid the urge to problem-solve or offer judgment on how bad things really are.
  8. Keep them talking. As they tire, they will lose momentum and be less likely to act on their feelings.
  9. Offer them a reason to go on in whatever form they will accept.  
  10. Encourage them to seek professional help as soon as possible. Let them know that depression is an illness and that it is very treatable. Help them make arrangements and take them to their appointment if necessary.
  11. If you feel they are in immediate danger, don’t hesitate to contact 911 or other emergency number in your area. It is not a betrayal of friendship to get your loved one help. They may feel angry at the time, but this will pass.
  12. Places you can take a suicidal person for help: a crisis center, ER, mental health center, or their own psychiatrist or family doctor.

Compiled from various sites about how to help someone contemplating suicide.
For more comprehensive information about how you can help a loved one visit:


1(800) SUICIDE a 24 hour 7 days/week hotline staffed by trained personnel to help when persons feel suicidal.

suicidology.org – check out their bookstore for reviewed, quality books for all different aspects of suicide, from treatment and prediction to surviving a suicide and mental health issues.

afsp.org – this is a great website to learn about the aspects of suicide, resources, links and support.

Jed foundation – jedfoundation.org is a nonprofit public charity committed to reducing the youth suicide rate and improving the mental health safety net provided to college students nationwide.

Ulifeline.org – developed by the Jed Foundation, it is a web-based resource that will provide students with a nonthreatening and supportive link to their respective college’s mental health center as well as important mental health information.

Suicide, the Forever Decision by Dr. Paul Quinnett. Crossroad, New York, 1987

The material in this site is provided for personal use only and does not substitute counseling or help from a trained professional. WCSU Counseling Center does not endorse or recommend information on these self help pages with respect to any company or product. It is specifically designed for informational and educational use to aid in awareness and resources on certain topics. The Counseling Center makes no claims about use of this information as a treatment or replacement for professional mental health counseling. Site users are urged to contact their mental health professional or contact the Counseling Center at (203) 837-8690 if they wish to connect with a professional about any of these or other issues that may be distressing them.

Counseling Center, Midtown Student Center Room 222,
Phone: 203.837.8690, Email: CounselingCenter@wcsu.edu, Fax:203.837.8416