Many people have had thoughts of suicide at some point in their life. For many it is a passing thought that may be related to a stressful period. For some, these thoughts persist and can cause great distress. Suicidal thoughts are most likely a symptom of depression and can be exacerbated by overwhelming stress. Sometimes suicidal thoughts are activated by alcohol and drug use, which can lead to self destructive acts when under the influence of a substance. Whatever the cause, a person who is having suicidal thoughts must seek professional help.
Suicide on campus - A short documentary film by Deirdre Fischel made for The New York Times Magazine.
If you are feeling suicidal, seek professional help immediately.
- Between 8 am and 4:30 pm Monday - Friday, call the Counseling Center at 414-288-7172. Tell the receptionist that your call is urgent and you would like to speak to the on-call counselor. You will be seen as soon as possible.
- After hours, call Public Safety at 414-288-1911 and ask to talk to the on-call counselor. The counselor will assess your situation and determine a plan to keep you safe.
- If you are living in a residence hall, contact the Residence Hall Director (RHD) or ask your RA to connect you with the RHD. The RHD will assess your situation and plan next steps with you.
- You may also call 1-800-273-TALK (8255), a national suicide hotline.
- If you feel that you are close to trying to kill yourself, go immediately to the closest hospital emergency room or call 911.
- Please remember that suicidal thinking can be treated. There is hope, and you must ask for professional help. Although suicidal thoughts can seem inescapable at the moment, they can be reduced or eliminated with treatment.
If someone you know indicates s/he is suicidal, remember:
- Be direct and ask if s/he is having thoughts of killing him/herself. It is a myth that asking about suicide will give someone the idea. If the person is suicidal, s/he will most likely feel relieved that you addressed it.
- Stay with the person until the proper help is attained. See the above section for ways the person can seek help (i.e., counseling appointment, meeting with RHD, assessment at a local hospital, call 911, etc.)
- Keep in mind that your role is to get your friend help. Then it is her/his job to stick with treatment.
- If the person is suicidal when under the influence of alcohol or drugs, but appears to be fine when sober, s/he still is in need of professional help.
How therapy helps:
- Often times, being listened to and supported is a great relief to those with suicidal thoughts.
- Coping techniques and strategies will be discussed to manage and reduce suicidal thoughts.
- Medication may be considered to alleviate the impairing symptoms of depression.
In summary, counseling can help reduce and eliminate suicidal thinking. Although people often feel hopeless or embarrassed when suicidal, they must trust that counseling can help them. If you or someone you know is having suicidal thoughts, please call the Counseling Center today.