Suicide Can Be Prevented

It's hard to recognize pain. But knowing the signs and how to react will help. Find the words. Reach out.

Know the Signs
Learn about common signs of distress so you can help.
Find the Words
It starts with a conversation. When you see signs, speak up.
Reach Out
Review our crisis resources and learn how to access them.

Know the Signs

By knowing the signs of distress, such as academic, physical and/or emotional changes, plus other risk factors, you can help prevent suicides. It starts with knowledge.

Signs of Distress

Academic Indicators
  • Sudden decline in quality of work and grades
  • Repeated absences
  • Disturbing content in writing or presentations (e.g., violence, death)
  • Meetings and conversations become more personal rather than academic counseling
Physical Indicators
  • Marked changes in physical appearance including deterioration in grooming, hygiene, or weight (loss/gain)
  • Excessive fatigue/sleep disturbance
  • Intoxication, hangovers, or smelling of alcohol at inappropriate times
  • Disoriented or “out of it”
Psychological Indicators
  • Self-disclosure of personal distress that could include family problems, financial difficulties, depression, grief, or thoughts of suicide
  • Excessive tearfulness, panic reactions, irritability, or unusual apathy
  • Verbal abuse (e.g., taunting, badgering, intimidation)
  • Expressions of concern about the student by their peers
Emotional & Safety Risk Indicators
  • Unprovoked anger or hostility
  • Making implied or direct threats to harm self or others
  • Academic assignments dominated by themes of extreme hopelessness, rage, worthlessness, isolation, despair, acting out, suicidal ideations, violent behaviors

Warning Signs of Suicide

Immediate Warning Signs
Call a 24/7 crisis line (e.g., SafeUT or National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255) or USU CAPS (435-797-1012) 8 a.m. – 5 p.m., Monday ­­– Friday.
  • Talking about wanting to die or kill themselves (e.g., “I wish I were dead;” “I’m going to end it all;” “I’m going to kill myself.”)
  • Preparing for ways to end their life (e.g., internet search on overdose, purchasing a gun, stockpiling pills, putting personal affairs in order, giving away prized possessions)
  • Expressing hopelessness or feeling like there is no reason for living (e.g., “What’s the point in trying anymore?” “I can’t go on anymore.”)
Other Serious Warning Signs
  • Talking about feeling trapped or being in unbearable pain (“I don’t know what to do anymore;” “There is nothing I can do to change this;” “I just want this pain to end”)
  • Talking about being a burden to others (e.g., “My family would be better off without me;” “They shouldn’t have to take care of me anymore.”)
  • Increasing alcohol or drug use
  • Showing anxiety, agitation, recklessness or mood swings
  • Sleeping too little or too much
  • Showing rage or talking about revenge (‘I want to prove to my family my pain is real.’)
  • Socially withdrawing
High Risk Factors

Characteristics associated with suicide behaviors

  • Previous suicide attempt(s)
  • Knowing someone who died by suicide
  • Alcohol or substance misuse/abuse
  • Mental disorders, particularly depression and bipolar disorder
  • Chronic illness or disability
  • Access to lethal means
  • Inadequate access to mental health and substance abuse treatment
  • Stigma against help seeking
  • Social isolation and lack of social support
  • Relationship loss Job or finance loss, including anticipated loss
  • Death of a loved one
  • An arrest
  • Experienced prejudice or discrimination

Find the Words

Now you know the signs. And it may be difficult to talk about, but a conversation can open the door to life-saving measures. Here are some steps and phrases to start strong.

How to Prepare for the Conversation
  • Find a private and quiet place to talk.
  • Sit or stand at the same level.
  • Hold a gentle eye contact if it’s appropriate for you and their culture.
  • Speak slowly and gently, while being authentic you.
  • Try to remain calm, but it’s OK if you become tearful.
How to Initiate the Conversation
  • In-person: Invite by asking if they can talk for a moment
    • “Can we talk for a bit in private?”
    • “Do you have time to meet with me for a few minutes?”
  • In an email: Invite by expressing your concern and ask if they will be open to scheduling a meeting with you.
If the Person is NOT Willing to Talk
  • Respect their space and express you care.
    • “OK, but I want you to know I’m here for you if you want to talk later.”
    • “OK, you don’t have to talk to me, but let me know if you want me to help you get connected to someone else to talk to, like a professional.”
    • “Is there someone else you might feel comfortable to talk to instead?”
  • Keep the line of communications open.
  • Follow up later.
  • Call 911 if it is emergency.
  • Consider filing a Student of Concern report.

Reach Out

Help starts here. Get familiar with the following resources to help connect those in need.

Where to Seek Help

For a Friend
If you’re worried about a friend, you can get help from professionals who are trained to support someone who has suicidal thoughts or behaviors by reporting a student of concern.

Students
Student Affairs
435-797-3137
usu.edu/intervention/reporting

Faculty & Staff
Aggies Thrive
usu.edu/hr/aggies-thrive
For Yourself
If you’re facing mental health challenges, please reach out, even if you don’t necessarily feel you’re “in crisis.” You matter, and we are here for you.

Students
USU Counseling & Psychological Services
435-797-1012
capsinfo@usu.edu

Faculty & Staff
Aggies Thrive
usu.edu/hr/aggies-thrive

Crisis Resources

Emergencies
Call 911

Access local law enforcement in an emergency or for off-campus welfare checks.
USU Police
435-797-1939

Access to welfare checks and concerns on Logan Campus.
SafeUT

833-372-3388 | Available on Apple and Android Devices

The SafeUT app is free and provides 24/7 access to crisis counseling with trained therapists via text or phone, and offers a tip line.
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline
1-800-273-8255

The National Suicide Prevention Line provides 24/7 free and confidential support for people in distress If you’re an Apple user, telling Siri you are having suicidal thoughts will prompt an option to connect with the crisis line.

Attend a Suicide Prevention Training

While suicide is one of the leading causes of death for students in Utah, we are actively working to change that. USU HELPS is Helping Everyone Learn to Prevent Suicide through prevention trainings and support services.

Register for USU HELPS Training

Suicide Prevention Resources

This campaign was adapted from the California Know the Signs (suicideispreventable.org) social marketing campaign funded by counties through the Mental Health Services Act and administered by the California Mental Health Services Authority.