College is a time for growth, exploration, and a lot of change—but it can also be a time where you may experience a lot of difficult challenges. Sometimes when we are struggling, we may have thoughts of death or suicide. If this is something you are experiencing, please know that you are not alone and support is available.
Suicide prevention resources
If you or someone you know is in crisis and poses an immediate threat to themselves or others, please call 911 or Campus Security at (509) 313-2222 immediately.
Check out additional available resources:
The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-TALK (8255)
The Crisis Text Line Text HOME to 741741
Text STEVE to 741741 (for BIPOC)
The Trevor Project (for LGBTQ+ folks) 1-866-488-7386; text START to 678678
The Trans Lifeline (for Trans folks) 1-877-565-8860
Frontier Behavioral Health 1-877-747-8224
Inland Northwest Behavioral Health (509) 992-1888
Center for Cura Personalis (509) 313-2227
Health & Counseling Services (509) 313-4052
Suicide prevention is a major focus at Gonzaga as we know that suicide is the second leading cause of death for college students and more than 1,100 students die by suicide every year in the U.S. (Wilcox, Holly C.; Arria, Amelia M.; Caldeira, Kimberly M.; Vincent, Kathryn B.; Pinchevsky, Gillian M.; O'Grady, Kevin E. (2010). "Prevalence and predictors of persistent suicide ideation, plans, and attempts during college". Journal of Affective Disorders. 127 (1–3): 287–294.)
Recognizing the warning signs for suicide might help prevent a suicide attempt:
- Talking about death or suicide
- Withdrawal from friends and family
- Substance use
- Impulsivity or recklessness
- Anger and anxiety
- Change in physical appearance or personal hygiene
- Expressing feelings of hopelessness or helplessness
- Feeling trapped
- Burdensome speech (“what’s the point?” “I don’t want to bother you anymore…”)
- Suffering a major life change or loss, such as a breakup, death of a loved one or pet
- Seeking access to means
- Dramatic change in mood (either positive to negative or negative to positive)
We must take all comments, threats, or warning signs of suicide seriously.
If you know someone who may be considering suicide, help keep them safe for now:
- Start the conversation. Begin with observations such as “I know you’ve been going through a lot lately. How are you doing?”
- Listen to the person and acknowledge their pain. Say things like “I’m so sorry you’re experiencing that.” “Thank you for telling me.” “You’re not alone.”
- Ask the question directly. “Are you thinking about killing yourself?”
- If so, ask if they have a plan, if they know when or where they would do it, and if they have the means. Take any yes response seriously.
- Let them know that you care and that you want to get them connected to a professional that can help.
- Engage them in the decision making process as much as possible. If help is refused, consult with a professional yourself.
- Follow up. If you believe they are safe, ask if you can check in with them in a day or two to see how they are doing. Offer consistent support.
Remember, never leave an actively suicidal person alone and never agree to keep a plan a secret.
- Mental Health First Aid: Just as CPR helps you assist an individual having a heart attack, Mental Health First Aid helps you assist someone living with or experiencing a mental health or substance use-related challenge. In this course, you will learn risk factors and warning signs for mental health and addiction concerns, strategies for how to help someone in both crisis and non-crisis situations, and where to turn for help. Join the more than 2.4 million Mental Health First Aiders nationwide who have been empowered to help support others through their recovery and resiliency – the belief that people living with these challenges can and do get better, and can lead meaningful and productive lives. Mental Health First Aid trainings are FREE for Gonzaga students and $25 for staff and faculty members. Trainings are currently offered virtually and will require a two-hour, self-paced online learning plus a seven-hour Instructor-led Zoom session (which includes a dedicated lunch hour and two, fifteen-minute breaks). Please note that RSVPs must be received one week prior to the training date.
- Campus Connect—Suicide Prevention Training: Want to learn more about how to support a friend, family member, or fellow Zag when it comes to suicide prevention? Campus Connect is a virtual, two-hour suicide prevention training that will discuss:
- The statistics surrounding suicide in the U.S. and on college campuses
- The risk factors, protective factors, and warning signs
- How to start the conversation with someone you care about
- Active listening, communication, and empathy building skills and
- How to get folks connected to resources on campus and throughout our communities.
Campus Connect trainings are free for members of the Gonzaga community.