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Preventing Suicide


Suicide takes over 29,000 lives each year. Suicide is the 2nd leading cause ... Disturbance in sleep or appetite. Sudden changes in behavior (missing classes) ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Preventing Suicide

Preventing Suicide
  • Georgia State University
  • Counseling Center
  • (404) 651-2211

Scope of the Problem
  • Suicide takes over 29,000 lives each year.
  • Suicide is the 2nd leading cause of death among
    college students and 3rd cause of death among
    persons 15-24.
  • Jed Foundation, 2003
  • Among persons aged 15-19 years, firearms related
    suicide accounted for 96 of the increase in the
    rate of suicide since 1980.
  • Surgeon Generals Call to Action, 1999.

Scope of the Problem
  • Nearly 90 of young adult suicide victims have at
    least one diagnosable, active mental illness at
    the time of their death.
  • Only 15 of suicide victims were in treatment for
    that illness at the time of their death.
  • Between 26-33 of young adult (15-24) suicide
    victims have made a previous attempt.
  • Jed Foundation, 2003.

Risk Factors for College Students
  • Two groups are at a higher risk
  • Students who have pre-existing mental health
    conditions when they enter college (depression,
    bipolar disorder)
  • Students who develop mental health problems
    during their college years.
  • Depression, sadness and hopelessness seem to play
    a major role when a student feels suicidal.
  • Safeguarding Your Students Against Suicide, 2002.

Other Risk Factors for Suicide
  • Previous suicide attempt
  • Mental disorders, particularly mood disorders
  • Substance abuse disorders
  • Family history of suicide
  • Hopelessness and/or feelings of isolation
  • Impulsive and/or aggressive tendencies
  • Unwillingness to seek help due to stigma.
  • Relational, social, work/school or financial loss
  • Surgeon Generals Call to Action, 1999

Protective Factors for Suicide
  • Receiving appropriate clinical care for mental,
    physical, and substance abuse disorders.
  • Easy access to a variety of clinical
    interventions and support for help seeking.
  • Restricted access to highly lethal methods of
  • Family and community support
  • Learned skills in problem solving, conflict
    resolution, and nonviolent handling of disputes.
  • Surgeon Generals Call to Action, 1999.

Signs of Depression
  • Changes in sleeping, eating patterns
  • Increased agitation and/or irritability.
  • Fatigue, loss of energy.
  • Inability to concentrate. / increased
  • Loss of interest in pleasurable activities.
  • Excessive or inappropriate feelings of guilt.
  • Reports feeling sad or empty, tearfulness
  • Symptoms cause distress and marked impairment in

Warning Signs for Suicide
  • Behavioral
  • Suicide threats, previous attempts, gestures.
  • Giving away prized possessions, other final
  • Impulsive behaviors
  • Disturbance in sleep or appetite
  • Sudden changes in behavior (missing classes)
  • Communicating ambivalence about life to others
  • Increasing somatic complaints (headaches)

Warning Signs for Suicide
  • Situational
  • Report of gaining access to lethal means, or
    having lethal means within easy access.
  • Discovery of suicide note, disclosure to friends.
  • Escalating problems or turmoil in persons
    primary support environment.
  • Interpersonal or relational loss that person
    seems unable to cope with (end of relationship,
    death in family, etc.)

InterventionSteps for Action
  • Three-step process of
  • Asking the right questions to gain information.
  • Persuading person to get help.
  • Referring person to counseling center for help.
  • Addressing suicidality does not increase risk.
  • Anyone who interacts with students and school
    staff is in a position to prevent suicide on

Suicide Prevention
  • It is helpful to begin by expressing your
    concerns about students well-being.
  • Questions to ask
  • Have you had thoughts of suicide?
  • Have you ever thought of a plan to end your own
  • Have you felt this way before? What happened?
  • What has happened recently that is contributing
    to these feelings?
  • Asking the right questions will help you when
    making a referral for services.

Suicide Prevention
  • Important to remember
  • Attention seeking is a cry for help.
  • Trust your instinctsif you believe person is at
    risk for suicide, they likely are.
  • Allow time to talk with the suicidal person.
  • Do not wait to actfollow through with referral.
  • Know your resources and where to refer.
  • Document situation, if appropriate.

Getting help
  • If you suspect that someone is suicidal
  • Talk with that person to see if they have had
    thoughts of suicide.
  • Suggest that counseling may help them with their
    problems and inform them of counseling services.
  • If you are concerned about students safety,
    arrange to have them walked over to counseling
    center and notify counseling center immediately.

Preventing suicide
  • Things to remember
  • Trust your instincts if you believe someone is
    suicidalif youve thought it, theres a good
    chance they are.
  • Never keep someones suicidality a secretremind
    them that you are most interested in helping them
    be safe.
  • Know yourselfif you are not sure about whether
    you can handle a suicidal situationask for help!

Georgia State University Counseling Center
  • Individual and group counseling services
  • Hours M-F 9-5, T 9-8pm
  • Students can walk-in for emergencies.
  • Staff can call to discuss situation with
    counseling center staff.
  • Students can initiate counseling services by
    coming to the counseling center and completing
    intake paperwork.

Georgia State University Counseling Center
  • (404) 651-2211
  • Other services include
  • Individual, couples, group counseling
  • Stress management services
  • Career counseling and educational services
  • Life skills education (time management, test
    anxiety, transitioning to college, text book