Student Health and Wellness Services

Suicide Prevention

National Suicide Prevention LifelineWe can all help prevent suicide. The Lifeline provides 24/7, free and confidential support for people in distress, prevention and crisis resources for you or your loved ones, and best practices for professionals.


First, control your anxiety and LISTEN. It is a difficult topic, however, don’t feel like you have to fix their problems right away. Give them space to talk about their pain. For example you can start by asking “Do you want to tell me why?” or “What makes you feel that way?” Do not say things like “get over it” or “other people have it worse”. Acknowledge and validate their suffering by saying things like “you’re right, sometimes life can really suck. But, what is worth living for?” Help your friend create a safety plan (see question #11).

Asking someone if they are thinking about suicide/having suicidal thoughts will not increase the danger of suicide. It starts the conversation. Giving them the opportunity to talk about what they are going through is helpful. You should be direct. But, if you don’t want to be blunt you can say “Hey, I know someone that went through something similar and they started having suicidal thoughts. Are you feeling the same way?”

If you feel there is immediate danger and you are on campus, call University Police Department at (909) 869-3070. If you are off campus, call 911 right away. If there is no immediate danger, let them know that you care about them and listen to how they’re feeling (see question #1).

This hashtag was created to start the conversation on how suicide is intersectional. When the conversation around suicide first began, it was only focused around the mental health of cis white men and women, leaving out POC, LGBTQ+, people with disabilities, etc.

No, there are signs for only a small number of suicides. This also varies from person to person. Some individuals might show signs to some and not to others.

Everyone has contemplated suicide at some point in their life—it just has been at different ages. This can be due to trauma. Sometimes we forget that children feel pain too. They are underestimated and suffer as well. An increase in young children experiencing suicidal thoughts may be due to the increase in social media and cyberbullying.

When someone you know loses someone to suicide, it is hard to come up with what to say. One of the most important things to do is give the person time and space to grieve their loss. Sometimes we might spend time trying to figure out the “whys” of the suicide. Instead of focusing on the way they lost someone, give the person grieving an opportunity to talk about the person they lost. Ask “what was their name?”, “what did they like to do?”

Remember to check in with them. You may ask what they need, or what you can give them to help their grieving. This may be making them dinner or watching a movie with them. You should also recommend seeing a professional for grief counseling or depression.  

Often, after a suicide in the community there are more to follow. Asking the person grieving if they are experiencing suicidal thoughts can start the conversation on the resources available and how to overcome these difficult times.

“Copy Cat” suicides and suicide clusters can occur when the death of one person can influence another person’s feelings of suicide. Media influences, including the suicide of a well-known celebrity can have similar influences on depressed young people, also known as the Werther effect. Portrayal of suicidal behavior in the media (newspaper or television reports of actual suicide, & portrayal of suicide in film, TV, or literature) may have negative influences on someone that has suicidal thoughts. The impact of the media increases when a method of suicide is specified, especially when details are provided.  

Younger people are most vulnerable to the influence of the media, especially social media. The increase of cyber-bullying on social media and across the internet has increased suicide in middle school students.

This is usually a case-by-case basis. It really depends on the circumstance and severity of the situation.

Many college students feel pressured to be “normal.” Any signs of depression, anxiety, suicidal thoughts, or other mental health concerns may be dismissed and not taken seriously because college students want to portray this “perfect, normal” person. Students are very worried about how their peers might perceive or judge them if they start talking about mental health or concerning behavior.

Pressure or expectations from family to be a “perfect” student also contributes to the lack of conversation surrounding suicide. Many times, parents make statements like “What do you have to be stressed about?” or “All you have to worry about is school” so students don’t feel like being depressed is justified.

A safety plan is an outline on what to do and who to reach out to when we need support. It’s important for all of us to have a safety plan when times are tough, whether we’ve had thoughts of suicide or not. Things to include in your safety plan:  

  • Internal coping strategies (things to take your mind off problems/stress/anxiety)
  • People and social settings that provide distraction
  • List of people you can ask for help
  • Professionals or agencies that you can contact during a crisis
  • Things to do to keep your environment safe
  • List at least one thing that is most important to you and worth living for
  • Download the MY3 app to have a copy on your phone

4 Steps to Start the Conversation About Suicide

  • They don’t feel like hanging out as much
  • Their mind seems to be somewhere else
  • They are so anxious they can’t relax
  • They’ve gotten negative about life
  • They’re acting weird and get mad for no reason
  • They’ve started taking dumb risks
  • They talk about feeling hopeless/trapped
  • They’re taking more drugs/drinking more/harming themselves
  • They’re giving away possessions & putting affairs in order
  • They’re talking about wanting to die or suicide
  • Sleeping too little or too much
  • Acting anxious or agitated; behaving recklessly
  • Loss of interest in things one cares about

Conversation Starters: Don’t know what to say? Try one of these opening lines. During the conversation - No need to be an expert, just be a friend. These tips should make starting the conversation about mental health a lot less awkward:

  • “Maybe it’s me, but I was wondering if you were all right”
  • “I’ve noticed you’ve been down lately. What’s going on?”
  • “Hey, we haven’t talked in awhile. How are you?”
  • “Seems like you haven’t been yourself lately. What’s up?”
  • “Whenever you’re ready to talk, I’m ready to listen.”
  • Listen up. Let them take the lead.
  • Promote hope.
  • Don’t make promises that you can’t keep.
  • Keep it casual. Relax: think of it as a chill chat, not a therapy session.
  • Avoid offering advice or trying to fix their problems.
  • Let them know it’s OK to feel the way they do.
  • Make yourself available. Be the friend they can rely on.
  • Ask open-ended questions. Help them to talk, not just say “yes” or “no”.
  • Let them open up at their own speed.
  • Don’t demand answers or force them to say anything they’re not ready to.
  • Tell them you won’t ever judge them.
  • Let them know that this won’t change how you feel about them.
  • Ask them if they’ve seen a doctor. Encourage them to talk to an expert. Contact Counseling and Psychological Services at 909-869-3220, or call the Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255).

On Campus Resources:

Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS)
  • Call 909-869-3220 or walk-in from 8am to 5pm
  • After Hours: Call 909-869-3220 and press 2 for phone crisis counseling, available 24/7
Student Health & Wellness Services (SHWS)

Off Campus Resources

  • National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-8255
    This free, 24-hour hotline is available to anyone in suicidal crisis or emotional distress. You can also call or chat with the Lifeline if you are concerned about someone else.
  • Crisis Text Line: Text “EMM” to 741741 text confidentially with a trained crisis counselor for free
  • Veteran Crisis Line: (800) 273-8255
  • Make the Connection: for shared experiences and support for veterans
  • The Trevor Project: or 1-866-488-7386 for crisis intervention and suicide prevention for LGBTQ youth
  • If you are bereaved by a suicide death, you may be in search of support for yourself and other loved ones. These resources are available online and in many communities that are specifically for people who have lost a loved one to suicide. Find help at

  • Minimize self-disclosure; the focus should be the student in front of you and do not share personal information you are not comfortable sharing.
  • Recognize your role and limitations; assess for risk, consult with Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS), offer to help contact resources, and when possible check-in at a later time.
  • Know when to refer and/or seek additional support; contact CAPS if you are concerned about the student and if it is an immediate emergency, call University Police (909) 869-3070 or for off campus emergencies call 9-1-1.