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Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS)

  • IU Health Center
    4th Floor
  • For information or to schedule an appointment
    (812) 855-5711

Self-Help

Suicide

People who feel life is hopeless and believe they cannot change their situations may be at risk for suicide. Most people who consider suicide have experienced many sad or stressful life circumstances before they reach this point.

Warning Signs of Suicide

People who commit suicide sometimes talk about their intention to kill themselves. Other warning signs can include:

  • A loss of interest in work, people, or activities previously enjoyed
  • A tendency to withdraw from people
  • Sleep and appetite disturbance
  • Sad or tearful mood
  • Acquiring the means to commit suicide (a gun, pills, etc.)
  • Giving away cherished possessions
  • Making a will

Suicide can also be a cry for help. Almost everyone who thinks about suicide is ambivalent. They want their problems to end, their situation to change, their pain to stop. When they feel there is no one or nothing that can help, death begins to seem like the best solution. It isn't.

How You Can Help

Listen carefully. How does the person feel? Is he or she thinking clearly about problems? Are there direct or indirect threats of death?

Convey interest and concern. Encourage them to express their feelings by asking questions that clarify problems and suggest solutions. Convey confidence that help can be found. Don't be afraid to ask if the person is considering suicide.

Be nonjudgmental. Whatever your beliefs about suicide, do not convey negative judgments about someone who is considering it. Remember it is seldom possible to fully understand someone else's pain.

Involve other people. Encourage the person to tell other people how he or she is feeling. Let the person know you may have to tell someone else, too. Never agree to keep suicidal thinking a secret. You can start by calling the CAPS counselor on duty at (812) 855-5711.

Signs the Crisis Is Over
  • When a verbal agreement to seek specific solutions other than suicide has been made
  • When a qualified helper has been informed about the problems, such as a parent, dorm counselor, doctor, or counselor
  • When the person arranges to go to a safe, protective place, such as a relative's home or a hospital emergency room
If a Friend Commits Suicide
  • Conflicting feelings and upsetting thoughts are natural.
  • Talk about your feelings with someone you trust to be supportive.
  • Remind yourself you cannot be responsible for someone else's actions, no matter what happened.
  • Feel angry if you feel angry. Go on enjoying your own life. It's okay.