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 saying is that you are in a great deal of pain and feel hopeless.”
  • “I’m glad you are speaking with me.”
  • 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?” “Do you have a plan?”
  • Remember, asking about suicide does NOT put the idea in people’s minds.
  • If a student answers that they are suicidal, or you are concerned that they may be, you MUST call the UMass Lowell Police Department (UMLPD) for a wellness check. You should not solely rely on emailing any STARS member or solely completing the STARS referral form for immediate action.

Get help. Explore options. Offer resources.

  • “What would help now?” “Who can help, 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 Counseling Services? Let’s call right now."
  • Complete the STARS referral form and let the student know you are doing so in order to secure assistance for them.
  • Call extension 44-911 on campus or 978-934-4911 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 self-harm / suicide confidential.
  • Do not leave the person alone in cases of potential suicidal thoughts, or if the student is in crisis.
  • Do not offer simple solutions.
  • Do not dismiss their feeling or concerns.