By Will Wysocki, PsyD and CAPS staff psychologist
Did you know there are over 1,000 suicides on college campuses each year?
September is National Suicide Prevention Awareness Month. In effort to increase awareness, decrease stigma and reduce shame, Counseling and Psychological Services would like to take the opportunity to acknowledge the fact that suicide is preventable.
The first step in prevention concerns acknowledging the risk factors for suicide. Here’s what to look for:
- Statements about suicide ranging from passive (i.e., “I wish I didn’t exist.”) to active expressions of wanting to end one’s life
- Increased substance use in the form of alcohol or other drug use
- Drastic changes in mood
- Withdrawal from friends and peers
- Increase in impulsive behaviors
- Aggressive behaviors (emotionally, physically or otherwise)
- Preoccupation with death or dying in the form of writing or any other form of self-expression
- Students who start ignoring coursework, missing class, and appear depressed
- Intimate partner violence or violence from another loved one
- Changes in a student’s eating behaviors and/or weight, sleeping patterns, and interpersonal interactions
- Difficulty with adjusting to sexual orientation and/or gender identity
If you become aware of any of these risks and warning signs, do not hesitate to call CAPS at 402.472.5000. Students can call 24 hours/seven days a week to speak with a counselor. If a student calls after hours, follow the prompts to be connected to an on-call counselor.
Students can also utilize other resources such as UNL Campus Police, reachable from a campus phone at 2-2222 and an off-campus phone or cellphone at 402.472.2222. Another resource is the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1.800.273.TALK (8255).
Know the risks and take action. Remember, suicide is preventable.