By knowing the warning signs that someone is depressed or suicidal, by showing support and taking the time to ask that person if they are doing ok, and by telling that person where to get help, you can help someone who may be in serious trouble before it is too late.
Know: The Signs
When someone is depressed and/or suicidal they often show signs that indicate how they are feeling. Here are some signs to watch for:
- Preoccupation with death or suicide.
- Feeling helpless or worthless.
- Giving away prized possessions.
- Making out a will, making final arrangements.
- Loss of interest in activities/work/school.
- Withdrawal from friends/family, becoming isolated.
- Loss of interest in personal appearances.
- Increased drug/alcohol use.
- Presence of serious depression.
- Previous suicide attempts.
- Difficulty coping with stressful life events.
Ask: Show You Care
If you notice that someone you know is showing signs that they may be depressed or suicidal, one of the best things that you can do is ask. Asking someone how they are and letting them know you are concerned about them can help a person to see that they are not alone. Here are some steps you can follow:
- Ask the person directly if they are thinking about committing suicide. Do so without judgment or criticism. Be calm.
- Do not promise to keep a secret. If someone is at risk, you may need to get help from others.
- Let the person know you care.
- Remember that you are not alone. There are many resources on campus to help you and the person you are concerned about.
Tell: Where to get Help
The third step is knowing where to get help and passing that information on. If you feel that a student is very depressed or is suicidal, refer him or her to see a counselor. Here are some of the resources that are available:
- Counseling Center: 253-535-7206
- Campus Safety: x7911 or X7441, Off campus 911
- Residential Hall Staff Person (RA/RD)
- 24 hour Suicide Hotline: 1-800-273-TALK
If a student seems to be in immediate risk and refuses help, do not leave him or her alone. It is best to call for help and remain with that person until help arrives.