Syracuse UniversityCounseling Center

Suicide

If you or someone you know is currently experiencing a suicidal crisis, call the Counseling Center at 315-443-4715 for immediate assistance. For life threatening and/or medical emergencies: on campus call Public Safety at 711 or off campus call 911.

Suicide prevention and intervention is an important issue for the Counseling Center. Occasional suicidal thoughts are not uncommon among college students. Most people think about suicide, but few act on those thoughts. It becomes a concern when students begin to think that suicide might actually be an answer to deal with the problems or pressures that seem overwhelming at the moment.

People sometimes call suicide "a permanent solution to a temporary problem." The Journal of the American Medical Association estimates that 95 percent of the people who commit suicide do so when they are very depressed. When someone is very depressed, they often feel hopeless and pessimistic that they will ever feel better again. People can become depressed for no apparent reason and so aren't even sure why they feel depressed. This can intensify the depression and lead to feelings of shame and isolation. It is important for students to know that depression is a treatable problem and that help is available. Early identification of depression leads to early intervention. Below are some of the signs and symptoms of depression:

  • Persistent sad or empty mood
  • Feelings of hopelessness, helplessness, guilt, pessimism, or worthlessness
  • Chronic fatigue or loss of interest in ordinary activities, including sex
  • Disturbances in eating or sleeping patterns
  • Irritability, increased crying; generalized anxiety (may include chronic fear of dying/convinced dying of incurable disease), panic attacks
  • Difficulty concentrating, remembering, or making decisions
  • Thoughts of suicide; suicide plans or attempts

If someone you know is severely depressed or suicidal, here are some warning signs to watch for:

  • Statements about hopelessness, helplessness, or worthlessness
  • Writing letters, leaving notes, or e-mails referring to death or "the end"
  • Suddenly happier or calmer
  • Loss of interest in things one cares about
  • Unusual visiting or calling people one cares about
  • Saying their good-byes
  • Giving possessions away, making arrangements, setting one's affairs in order
  • Self-destructive behavior (alcohol/drug abuse, self-injury or mutilation, promiscuity)
  • Risk-taking behavior (reckless driving/excessive speeding, carelessness around bridges, cliffs or balconies, or walking in front of traffic)
  • Unexplained accidents resulting in injury
  • Obsession with guns or knives

Remember that if someone you know is suicidal there are things you can do:

  • Take it seriously. Most suicidal persons give some warning of their intentions to a friend or family member.
  • Don't be afraid to ask if he/she is considering suicide or if he/she has a plan for doing it.
  • In cases where there is an immediate risk of the person harming himself/herself, remove any firearms or other means he/she might use to hurt themselves and contact help immediately. If he/she has taken anything to harm himself/herself call either Public Safety (711) or Syracuse University Health Services (315-443-2666).
  • Be actively involved in seeking professional help. Never agree to keep serious suicidal thoughts in confidence. Encourage the person to contact a mental health professional, and if he/she won't, you should.
  • The Counseling Center provides 24 hour emergency support services.  To access these services during regular business hours, call 315-443-4715 and ask to speak with the walk-in therapist or come to the Counseling Center at 200 Walnut Place.  After hours or on weekends Call the Counseling Center 315-443-4715 and press "0" after the prompt to speak with a therapist.
  • For on-campus emergencies, contact Public Safety at 711. If you are living off campus, call 911.

For additional information, see Crisis Help.