Ohio University is committed to suicide prevention by providing resources and services to the entire community. We know that many students will question whether the world would be better without them, but we encourage them to keep going and keep growing.
Our suicide prevention programs train members of the OHIO community in responding empathetically to a student in crisis.
How to support someone who is experiencing suicidal thoughts
- Ask directly, and talk openly about their thoughts.
- Communicate your care and concern for them.
- Listen to what they are sharing and take it seriously; avoid minimizing, judging, lecturing, and/or guilting.
- Offer support and show interest in their concerns.
- Don't swear to secrecy. When someone tells you they want to die by suicide always consult with others and seek support.
- Help find assistance.
- Stay involved; it's ok to check in on the person and see how they're doing after they've received help.
Risk of imminent harm?
If the person you are talking to is in immediate danger do not leave them alone. Dial 911 if you are off-campus, or Ohio University Police Department Emergency (740) 593-1911 from a cell phone if you are on campus.
If there are no immediate safety concerns, but you are worried about a friend or student, our staff would be happy to provide support. To speak with a counselor or consult about an emergency call (740) 593-1616. We are available 24/7.
Worried about a student or classmate?
Call the Office of the Dean of Students (740) 593-1800.
Recognizing warning signs of suicide
It's important to recognize the warning signs that may indicate someone is contemplating suicide, because it increases the likelihood of early detection and intervention with people who are in crisis.
Keep in mind, these warning signs do not directly predict a suicide attempt. Rather, the greater number of warning signs that are present, the greater likelihood that an individual is contemplating suicide.
- Threatening to hurt or kill themselves.
- Looking for ways to kill themselves, such as seeking access to pills, weapons, or other mean.
- Talking or writing about death, dying, or suicide.
- Expressions of hopelessness or helplessness.
- Rage, anger, and seeking revenge.
- Feeling trapped.
- Increased drug/alcohol use.
- Withdrawing from friends/family.
- Anxiety, agitation, and inability to sleep.
- Dramatic changes in mood.
- Indication of not being able to identify a reason for living or seeking a purpose in life.
- Major changes in a person's routine.
Common misconceptions about suicide
People who engage in self-harm want to kill themselves
Many times, people who engage in self-harm behaviors are doing it cope with intense negative emotions and do not want to kill themselves. Even though they are not necessarily trying to end their life, studies show that people who have been injuring themselves over a long period of time have a higher risk for suicidal thoughts, gestures, and attempts. For this reason alone, it is important to ask whether the person is having suicidal thoughts.
Talking about suicide gives someone in crisis the idea of suicide
Asking someone if they are thinking about suicide is one of the most helpful things you can do, as it helps a person who is thinking about suicide feel understood and demonstrate that you understand the amount of suffering that the person is experiencing.
There is no preventing someone from acting on these thoughts
Many individuals contemplating suicide do not want to die, they want to end their pain and suffering. Listening, empathizing, validating, and connecting the individual to mental health resources are some of the most helpful things you can do.
People who talk about suicide don't kill themselves
Most individuals who have attempted or died by suicide have given warning signs. Do not ignore suicide threats.