Tragically, suicide is the second highest cause of death for those in college. Loneliness, loss of control, stress, financial difficulty, and more can lead some students to feel that death is the only way out. How do you know if your roommate or friend is suicidal? What can you do to help him or her? Surprisingly, you may be able to help simply by talking and listening.
Signs of Suicidal Tendencies
Your roommate or friend may be considering suicide if they exhibit any of these behaviors:
♣ Talking about, or hinting at, suicide or dying
♣ Looking for or purchasing pills, knives, guns, or other dangerous objects
♣ A preoccupation with dying and death.
♣ Feelings of hopelessness
♣ Feelings of worthlessness, self-hate, shame, or guilt
♣ Making out a will or giving away valued possessions
♣ Unexpected calls or visits to family and friends
♣ Withdrawing from friends, family, and social life
♣ Self-destructive behaviors such as increased alcohol or drug use
♣ Sudden calm or happiness after a period of depression
What You Can Do
♣ Talk to your friend and directly ask about suicide. Talking about it won’t give him or her the idea. Find out what they have been considering and what method of suicide they have contemplated. Don’t freak out. Instead remain calm and caring throughout the discussion.
♣ Listen to what he or she has to say. Stay calm and do not be judgmental. Instead, focus on understanding your friend’s feelings and letting them know you understand. Telling someone that their feelings are ridiculous, unimportant, or invalid will only lead to the feelings of hopelessness and depression. Repeat his or her thoughts back in a way that will clarify your understanding.
♣ Encourage positive solutions and actions without minimizing pain or depressive feelings. Be respectful and let them know how much you care for them and need them. Sometimes, a person simply needs to hear that he or she matters and that you don’t want them to die.
♣ Call help immediately. You can call the suicide prevention hotline at 1-800-273-8255. Alternatively, you can contact your friend’s family physician or take him or her to the local emergency room.
♣ Bring in other friends, even if it means breaking a confidence. You don’t want to be in the position of being your friend’s only lifeline. Also, other friends may be able to add an element of caring that could tip the balance.
It is important to understand that your friend may commit suicide regardless of your caring and efforts. Hopefully, you will be able to prevent the worst from happening. If you can’t, however, realize that it is not your fault and that there was something going on that was out of your control. In addition, if you ever start having your own thoughts of suicide, immediately seek the help and support of family, friends, counselors, and your physician. Just remember, there is always a better day ahead of you.
About the Author
Nelson B. is a writer for How2becomeapoliceofficer.com. If you are interested in preventing crime and you want to learn how to become a police officer, you can look at this site. This site can help you determine the salary of a police officer to help you on your search for a career.