How Do I Help?
Please consider the following:
Show you care, connect on a feeling level, listen.
- “I’m concerned about you and noticed you haven’t been sleeping, eating, going to class, etc.”
- “How are you feeling?”
- Reflect back their feelings and paraphrase: “What I hear you say is that you are in a great deal of pain and feel hopeless.”
- “I’m glad you called.”
- Listen with respect. Individuals in distress want understanding and care.
Ask about suicide directly.
- “Sometimes when people feel sad, they have thoughts of hurting or killing themselves. Have you had such thoughts?”
- “Are you thinking of killing yourself?”
- “Have you considered suicide?” “How would you go about it?” “When would you do that?”
- Remember, asking about suicide does NOT put the idea in people’s minds.
Get help. Explore options. Offer resources.
- “What would help now?” “Who can, who usually helps?” “How can I help?”
- Get assistance. Avoid trying to be the only lifeline for this person. Seek out resources even if it means breaking a confidence.
- “How would you feel about going to the Counseling Center? Let’s call right now." or "I’ll walk over with you to see a counselor.”
- Call the Dean of Students Office at Ext. 4-2100 (or 978-934-2100) during regular business hours.
- Call Ext. 44-911 or 978-934-2911 if this is an acute crisis. The EMTs and University Police will respond immediately.
What Not To Do
- Do not promise to keep the person’s thoughts of suicide confidential.
- Do not leave the person alone in cases of talk of potential suicidal thoughts or if the student is in crisis.
- Do not offer simple solutions.