If you or someone you know is experiencing suicidal thoughts please call CAPS at 201-761-6420 during regular business hours; after hours and on campus call Campus Safety at 201-761-7400, or if off campus call 911 or go to your nearest emergency room.
Suicide is the 2nd leading cause of death among college students. According to the American College Health Association (ACHA), the suicide rate among young adults ages 15–24 has tripled since the 1950s. Annually about 1,000 college students take their own lives. At Saint Peter’s University we want to prevent suicide by decreasing the stigma surrounding mental health issues which is often a barrier to seeking care.
Warning signs: It is hard to know how someone is feeling inside, but you might see or hear things that could be a clue.
- Talking about feeling hopeless, trapped, or alone
- Saying they have no reason to live
- Making a will or giving away personal possessions
- Searching for a of doing personal harm (buying a gun, getting pills)
- Change in sleep routine
- Change in eating habits; significant weight loss or gain
- Engaging in reckless behaviors (excessive alcohol, drug use, promiscuity)
- Avoiding social interactions with others
- Expressing rage or intentions to seek revenge
- Signs of extreme anxiousness or agitation
- Dramatic mood swings
- Talking about suicide as a way out
MYTH: “If I ask about suicide, and they weren’t thinking it, I could put the thought in their mind.” You can’t make someone have suicidal thoughts, but you can offer the person relief by letting them talk about it.
How to talk to someone who is feeling suicidal:
If you suspect that a family member or friend may be considering suicide, talk to them about your concerns. You can begin the conversation by expressing your concern for them, and asking questions in a non-judgmental and non-confrontational way.
Talk openly and don’t be afraid to ask direct questions, such as “Are you thinking about suicide?”
During the conversation:
- Stay calm and speak in a reassuring tone
- Acknowledge that their feelings are legitimate
- Offer support and encouragement
- Tell them that help is available and that they can feel better with treatment
- Listen – avoid problem solving or trying to make them feel better with statements such as “ at least…”, “you’re better off…”, “try not to let it bother you”, “It’s not worth getting upset about”.
Trying to solve problems, make them feel better, or draw comparisons will only shut them down, and they’ll likely tell you what YOU want to hear, and not what they want to say. Encouraging them to seek help from a professional, while listening and showing support is the best way to help them. Offer to help them find a healthcare provider, make a phone call, or go with them to their first appointment.
Supporting someone with suicidal thoughts can be stressful not just for them but for you too. Once you help them take action and seek help, it is important for you to take some time for your own self-care or even consider talking to someone yourself.
If you’re concerned and don’t know what to do, you can get help from a crisis or suicide prevention hotline.
Suicide & Crisis Lifeline have trained counselors available 24/7/365 available to anyone in suicidal crisis or emotional distress.
If you think someone is at immediate risk of self-harm:
- Call 911 or your local emergency number.
- Stay with the person until help arrives.
- Remove any guns, knives, medications, or other things that may cause harm.
Listen, but don’t judge, argue, threaten, or yell.
A Message of Hope: There is help out there for you. Many people have survived their suicidal thoughts, and so can you. With treatment and support, it is possible to live free from the pain you feel right now. If you are thinking about suicide, pause, seek help, YOU ARE WORTH IT! Reach out, help is available 24/7/365.
Text STEVE to 741741 to access a culturally trained Crisis Text Line counselor.
Bridgeway Behavioral Health (908-512-7400)
The Trevor Project (1-866-488-7386) or text START to 678678. A national 24-hour, toll-free confidential suicide hotline for LGBTQ youth.
New Jersey’s 24/7 Peer Support and Suicide Prevention Hotline 1-855-NJ-HOPELINE (654-6735)
NJ Mental Health Cares 866-202-HELP (4357)
New Jersey Vet2Vet 1-866-VETS-NJ4 (838-7654) is a 24 hour/7-day a week helpline coordinated by Rutgers University Behavioral Health Care. The helpline features peer counseling for Veterans, members of the Air/Army National Guard, and family members.
Other Support Resources
Safe Space is home to resources and tools to provide you with some extra support in an emotionally safe environment.
Mental Health America maintains a list of online, text, and phone crisis help contacts.