Suicide Prevention

SUICIDE PREVENTION AND RESPONSE PROTOCOL

IMPORTANT:


IF YOU OR SOMEONE YOU KNOW HAS A DESIRE TO ACT ON SUICIDAL THOUGHTS AND /OR HOMICIDAL THOUGHTS, CALL 911 OR REPORT TO THE NEAREST EMERGENCY ROOM IMMEDIATELY.
Suicide, and the threat of suicide, are issues that every college campus in America faces. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), suicide is the 2nd leading cause of death for teenagers and young adults.
Columbia’s response to a student having thoughts of suicide or making a suicide attempt is a very aggressive one. Immediate action is taken to assess the degree of danger to the student and level of care required. Our approach is to provide an appropriate level of support based on each student’s need. This usually includes linkage to a community provider and/or assistance from members of the student’s social network.

College students are in transition from adolescence to adulthood and many of them are under stress, both personally and academically. Student Health and Support staff members are trained to provide Crisis Intervention services in the event of a suicide threat or attempt. This involves working with the suicidal student, their close community of friends, their emergency contact person and as appropriate, a psychiatric crisis team.

If you are confronted with a student contemplating or threatening suicide, be assured that there are knowledgeable and well-trained Columbia staff members ready to assist the at-risk student and you.

Warning Signs and Risk Factors of Suicide
Some common warning signs exist that can indicate that a person may be considering suicide. These signs may be clear or subtle and may or may not predict suicidal behavior.

Warning signs that may imply a heightened risk for suicide are:
• Talking about or making plans for suicide (“I’m going to kill myself” or “I’m better off dead”)
• Feeling of hopelessness about the future, helplessness, or worthlessness
• Withdrawal from friends or family
• Anger or hostility that seems out of character
• Expressing marked emotional pain or distress
• Themes of death in artwork, poetry, or conversation
• Giving away belongings
• Buying or obtaining a weapon

Risk Factors:
• Previous suicide attempts
• History of serious mental illness or previous hospitalization for psychiatry
• Failed relationships
• Insomnia or excessive sleeping
• Feelings of apathy or low motivation
• Significant appetite loss or gain
• Self-harming behaviors such as but not limited to cutting or burning oneself
• Substance abusing behaviors

Your responsibility
• Encourage help seeking behavior such as contacting emergency services
• Take every complaint or reference to suicide very, very seriously
• Be supportive. Show compassion
• Avoid being judgmental or argumentative about moral issues regarding suicide
• Call Student Health and Support at 312-369-8595 Monday – Thursday 9am – 6 pm,
Friday 9 am – 5 pm
• Call Campus Safety and Security 24 hours at 312-369-1111
• Call 911
Note: If the student has experienced an act of sexual misconduct, please contact the Office of Equity Issues at 312-369-6344 or visit our page.

Resources available:
National Suicide Hotline: 1-800-272-8255
Crisis Text Line: Text “HOME” to 741741
I’m Alive (chat)
#BeThe1To
Self-Injury Hotline - 1-800-DONT-CUT (366-8288)
Campus Safety and Security: 312-369-1111
Student Relations: 312-369-8595
Counseling Services: 312-369-8700