Suicide Awareness & Prevention
At Malone University we consider student safety to a top priority. Our goal is to provide students with a safe, secure environment in which to learn, thrive, and grow spiritually, relationally, and academically within a like-minded community. However, we are also keenly aware that many students may be dealing with stress, anxiety, depression, and other conditions and situations which can impact their learning and ability to relate easily with others. Sometimes this emotional pain can fester and lead to thoughts of self-injury, even thoughts of suicide.
Should you encounter a student who appears to be struggling emotionally, mentally, spiritually, relationally, please take a moment or two to discuss your concerns with them. Some key features to look for and listen for:
- Stated or observed mood(s) such as depression; anxiety; helplessness; hopelessness; irritability; guilt and/or shame; worthlessness
- Talk of suicide; of feeling stuck or trapped with no way out; of being a burden or better off dead or not having a reason to live; expressing unbearable emotional pain
- Seeking ways to end one’s life; having a history of suicide attempts; increased use of alcohol and/or drugs; visiting, calling, or other means (social media) of telling people good-bye; withdrawing from social activities; isolating from family and friends; reckless or dangerous behavior; giving away meaningful or prized possessions
- Having recently experienced a loss to suicide
Next, Question the student regarding any thoughts or feelings they may have related to self-injury, suicide, or thoughts of death and dying. Question them about a specific plan they may have for killing themselves. Question them about any methods or means they may have available or they may have considered for ending their life. Question them about the seriousness of their intent for dying. Question whether they own or have access to a firearm or other lethal means by which to take their life.
Then Persuade the individual to live another day, even another hour. Persuade the person in crisis to reconsider alternatives to ending their life. Persuade them to allow you to seek help on their behalf. Persuade them that while suicide may be a legitimate option for ending their emotional pain, there are treatment options available, too, that may be just as effective.
And finally Refer the student to the Malone University Counseling Center (330-471-8439), the Crisis Intervention and Recovery Center (330-452-6000), Mercy Medical Center, Aultman Hospital, or a local or national suicide prevention hotline (1-800-273-8255), or the Crisis Text line (text 4hope to 741741. (Tip: make the call yourself with the individual present). The referral process starts with a telephone call to one of the crisis helplines. Staffers at these numbers are specially trained to walk the caller through a suicidal crisis in an effort to ensure safety and stabilization. A suggested starting point: “I am sitting here with an individual who is feeling suicidal. What is our next step for getting them some help?”