Help Some ONE

One in ten college students contemplates suicide. You can be one of the NINE to reach out and help.

Suicide is the second leading cause of death for college students. If you or your friend are thinking about suicide or self-harm, there is help 24/7.

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline

1-800-273-TALK (8255)

Know the Signs

College is an exciting time that opens many doors to the present and future. However, we can sometimes get so lost in the frenzy of friends, attending class, studying for exams, meeting deadlines and going out that we forget to take the time to check in on one another. Conversations become casual and can be difficult to have with a friend who shrugs off their warning signs. Be aware of your friends and classmates' behaviors and emotions. If you have concerns, speak up and show your concern. Be persistent.
Be one of the nine.

Signs Someone May Need Help:

  • Isolating

    They are not hanging out with friends, hiding and avoiding social situations, and making plans not to be around. They may be having problems with peers and having trouble making friends.

  • Trouble in school

    They are missing classes, failing in school, having trouble concentrating, overly stressed out or anxious about school.

  • Mood/behavior changes

    They have changed completely, aren't acting like themselves anymore, started smoking cigarettes recently or something else that is out of character. Their moods are all over the place and their personality and way of acting is changing dramatically.

  • Seems depressed/anxious

    They are sad a lot of the time, have low energy, are not taking care of their personal hygiene, having episodes of crying without an obvious reason. They are really stressed out or anxious and not coping, may be agitated and can't handle criticism.

  • Risk-taking/recklessness/self-harm

    They are driving irresponsibly, drinking too much, using drugs to excess, using prescription drugs without medical supervision. They are hurting themselves intentionally - cutting, burning, hitting, breaking bones, choking, etc.

  • "Talking suicide"

    They are communicating thoughts of suicide, texting, tweeting, or saying things like: I wish I were dead; I'm going to end it all; You will be better off without me; What's the point of living?; Soon you won't have to worry about me; Who cares if I'm dead anyway?

  • Eating issues

    They are not eating or are eating to excess, lost or gained a lot of weight in a short period of time.

  • Sleeping issues

    They are having trouble sleeping, sleeping too much or too little.

  • Experienced trauma

    They recently went through a traumatic event or are experiencing distress from a past trauma and haven't gotten help – bad break-up, death or illness of a loved one, rape or sexual assault, domestic violence, child abuse, etc.

  • Giving away possessions.

    They are giving away prized possessions or valuable items like their favorite necklace, movies/music, clothing item, piece of a collection, etc.

Know the signs and help someone.

What You Need to Know About Mental and Emotional Health

Everyone has down days once in a while and for some, external stressors, brain chemistry, or a combination of both can lead to depression. People can become depressed when under a great deal of stress (like moving away to college, a parent's illness, divorce or loss of job, keeping up with grades, paying for college, etc.). Even when things seem the darkest, there is help available.

Educating yourself about living with mental illness and mental health struggles is one of the best ways you can help yourself or a friend. By being educated, understanding, and supportive, friends can be a valued asset to recovery.

The Facts

  • Mental health issues can happen to anyone at any age.
  • Mental health deserves the same attention and care as physical health.
  • Mental health issues are treatable. The same treatment doesn't work for everyone so sometimes we need to be patient while we figure out what works for our unique selves.
  • Suicidal thoughts, plans and actions are a result of a chemical imbalance in the brain, not a character flaw or weakness. This chemical imbalance makes it difficult for someone to problem-solve and think out solutions to their intense emotional pain.
  • Students struggling with gender identity and sexual orientation issues have higher incidents of suicide attempts.
  • Students raised in cultures with high academic expectations may experience excessive stress to not disappoint their parents, which can lead to anxiety and depression.

Talking about mental illness and available treatment helps reduce the stigma and keeps the conversation positive and hopeful.

Take Action

How can I help my friend?

  • Ask direct questions. Are you thinking about suicide? Are you thinking of killing yourself? If you can't ask the question, find someone who can.
  • Stay by their side. Never leave someone alone who is showing suicidal warning signs.
  • Call a professional. Remember, your job is to try to get someone to the help they need, not be the help they need.
  • Don't keep secrets about suicide. Telling someone that you're worried about a friend can be hard to do, especially if they've asked you not to tell. Saving a life is more important than keeping a secret out of fear of losing a friendship.

One thing to remember is that noticing, speaking up, and being authentic and present in your relationships may be the first and most important step in saving a life. Consider taking the first step yourself; bring them to counseling and help them find the support they may need. Always be present and supportive, listen diligently and be a shoulder they can lean on. Reach out and stay connected, even a simple text or phone call can go a long way.

If you feel you cannot reach out personally there are an abundance of resources and professionals you can turn to that can provide assistance. Reach out to someone- whether they are a trusted family member, teacher, or mental health professional and check out the resources section below.

You are not alone!

If you feel you or your friend needs help, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline number 1-800-273-TALK (8255) (or 911 if immediate assistance is needed).

If in doubt, it doesn't hurt to call. They will listen.

Get involved in suicide prevention.

There are many ways that you can get involved in raising awareness about mental health, mental illness and the importance of suicide prevention.

  • Become a trained suicide gatekeeper. QPR (Question, Persuade, Refer) training teaches anyone how to ask someone if they are thinking about suicide, how to persuade someone to get help, and where to refer them to get the help they need. Learn more at qprinstitute.com.
  • Walk. Organizations like American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP) and National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) hold regular suicide prevention walks around the country. Find out when one will be near you and get a team together.
  • Join Active Minds. Active Minds is changing the conversation about mental health on college campuses. Consider joining or starting a chapter on your campus.
  • Volunteer. There are so many organizations out there doing great things for suicide prevention that rely heavily on volunteers to make their efforts successful. Reach out and ask how you can help.

Resources for getting help for you or your friend:

  • Call 911 in an Emergency. If you are unsure if the situation you're in qualifies as an emergency, it is always safer to call and have a qualified professional provide an assessment.
  • Hospital Emergency Room.
  • National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. 1-800-273-TALK (8255). Whether you are calling for yourself or you are worried about a friend, someone will be there to help 24/7.
    • Veterans and their loved ones press 1, when prompted.
  • The Trevor Lifeline. 1-866-488-7386. The Trevor Project's free and confidential help line.
  • Community Counseling Center/Private Therapist. Call the number on your insurance card to get a list of providers. Some offices offer a sliding fee scale.
  • mentalhealth.gov. Has a treatment locator function to assist in finding treatment locations near you.
  • Samhsa.gov mental health treatment locator.

For college students, these additional resources can provide direct assistance or can help facilitate steps to getting the appropriate help involved:

  • Campus Counseling Center. Many campus counseling centers offer brief therapy, walk-in appointments for crises, as well as on-call availability.
  • Campus Police.
  • Student Health Services.
  • Resident Assistant.
  • Women's Center, LGBTQ Center, etc.

If a friend is unwilling to go to a direct service, you can suggest going to a trusted professor, advisor, coach, etc. who can assist in getting them into the right person's hands. Although it is ideal that your friend is an active participant in seeking out the help they need, sometimes your persuasion is not enough, in which case you may have to seek the assistance of a third party on your friend's behalf, even without their permission. The important thing is that you do not keep your concerns to yourself.

Where Can I Learn More?

301 people have taken the pledge
to be one of the nine.
Will you?

I pledge to:

  • Educate myself on mental health and the warning signs of suicide.
  • Keep my eyes and ears open and reach out to those who may be exhibiting warning signs.
  • Show understanding and be supportive of anyone who may be struggling to let them know they are not alone.
  • Be aware of the resources in my community and nationally that can provide information and help.
  • Encourage someone I'm concerned about to seek help and guide them to a resource that can provide assistance.
  • Find someone who is comfortable reaching out to someone I am concerned about if I don't feel able to myself.
  • Talk openly about mental illness and available treatment to help reduce the stigma around seeking help.