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Responding to Suicide Risk | Kent State University

Responding to Suicide Risk

General Considerations

If you need immediate assistance in responding to a threat to your safety or the safety of others, call 911.

  • If you need to consult with someone about a student who is disruptive in any educational setting or seems to be showing signs of emotional distress, mental illness, or difficulty in adjusting to college life, contact a mental health resource. You may also consider contacting the Dean of Students to discuss a possible referral to The Care Team.
  • If you don’t know whether to be concerned about a behavior, contact Psychological Services 330.672.2487 for guidance.
  • If you are concerned about the individual's self-harm outside business hours, contact the 24-hour resources.

If you are NOT concerned for your immediate safety or that of others:

  • Do not leave someone alone if there is a risk of self-harm.
  • Talk to the individual privately and acknowledge his/her feelings.
  • Take it seriously and communicate your concern.
  • Know that talking to individuals about suicide does not increase their risk.
  • Urge the person to seek professional help immediately, and suggest a mental health resource

Warning signs that someone may be at risk of suicide:

  • Talking or writing about death, dying or suicide
  • Talking of feeling hopeless or having no reason to live
  • Talking about feeling trapped or being in unbearable pain
  • Talking about being a burden to others
  • Threatening to hurt or kill oneself
  • Seeking pills, weapons, or other means to kill oneself
  • Giving away personal or prized possessions
  • Displaying extreme mood swings
  • Taking risks/engaging in reckless behaviors
  • Increasing use of alcohol and/or drugs
  • Withdrawing from friends and family
  • Having made previous suicide attempt(s)
These warning signs may mean that someone is at risk for suicide. The risk may be greater following a tragic event or loss, if the individual has increased his/her use of alcohol or drugs, or the individual is behaving in a reckless or agitated manner. Individuals who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, or questioning, as well as veterans, are also at higher risk for suicide.

Utilize suicide prevention resources

The following suicide prevention resources in Northeast Ohio can be helpful: