In the event of a mental health emergency or crisis that affects your safety and well-being or that of another person, please note the following contact information:
Please call 911 or get yourself safely to the nearest hospital emergency room (the local hospital ERs are listed below):
If you are a Residence Hall student, call Campus Police at (304) 766-3181 or the Director of Residence Life or your RA or RL immediately.
Suicide is a leading cause of death among college students. According to the National Institute of Mental Health the strongest factors for suicide in this age group are depression, substance abuse, and aggressive behavior. The best way to prevent suicide is to be aware of some of the common warning signs. Although some suicides do occur without warning, most people will show some outward signs. Recognize when someone is suicidal but importantly, be aware of the first signs of trouble.
Potential Warning Signs of Suicide
- They may talk about suicide and sounding helpless and hopeless
- They may prepare for their death by making a will, giving away possessions, or by saying good-bye
- Persistent sadness that seems excessive given the person's life situation
- Inability or unwillingness to communicate with others
- Psychological changes such as irritability, anxiety or withdrawal
- Neglect of school work, personal grooming or other routine tasks
- Changes in physical health such as changes in sleep habits, appetite, weight, or energy level
- Changes in social behavior such as inability to enjoy usual social activities, sudden and severe change in drug or alcohol use
- Personal crises and major losses or rejections
- Preoccupation with death or preparation for death
- Gains access to guns, pills, knives, etc.
None of these signs alone may necessarily indicate suicidal potential or even depression, but several indicators, particularly if they indicate a change from the person's usual mood and style of coping, deserve close attention.
Risk Factors for Suicide
- Mental disorders, particularly mood disorders, schizophrenia, anxiety disorders and certain personality disorders
- Alcohol and other substance use disorders
- Impulsive and/or aggressive tendencies
- History of trauma or abuse
- Major physical illnesses
- Previous suicide attempt
- Family history of suicide
- Job or financial loss
- Loss of relationship
- Easy access to lethal means
- Local clusters of suicide
- Lack of social support and sense of isolation
- Stigma associated with asking for help
- Lack of health care, especially mental health and substance abuse treatment
Protective Factors for Suicide
- Effective clinical care for mental, physical and substance use disorders
- Easy access to a variety of clinical interventions
- Restricted access to highly lethal means of suicide
- Strong connections to family and community support
- Support through ongoing medical and mental health care relationships
- Skills in problem solving, conflict resolution and handling problems in a non-violent way
- Cultural and religious beliefs that discourage suicide and support self-preservation
How to Talk with Someone Who is Suicidal
Talking to and reaching out to a person who is suicidal is an important action to take to help. This takes courage and compassion. Although our society often emphasizes on privacy of individuals, it is important to intervene if an individual appears to be severely depressed and presents with suicidal thoughts or gestures. Here are some suggestions on how to approach someone who may be dangerously depressed:
- Choose a private location to address the person. Tell him/her that you are aware and have noticed some changes in her/his behavior. You can then ask if there is any way you can help.
- Directly ask the individual if he or she is thinking about suicide or about harming themselves. Tell the person you have noticed a change in his/her behavior. Ask how you can help.
- Allow the person to talk and be heard; don't try to "make it all better."
- Don't argue about whether he/she should live or die. Instead, try to listen patiently to feelings.
- Take every suicidal act, threat, or comment seriously.
- Express your concern.
- Encourage the person to seek professional help; provide phone numbers of the Counseling & Academic Support Services, crisis lines, and the emergency room.
- If the individual refuses to get help, call or visit Counseling & Academic Support Services yourself for support and consultation.
Learn more about Suicide Prevention
Suicide is a sensitive, difficult topic to address, and unfortunately for much of our society, it is still taboo to talk about it. Suicide is a preventable tragedy for college students. The importance of education about depression, substance abuse, and other suicide risk factors can save lives.
One effective suicide prevention program is QPR
. QPR stands for: Question, Persuade, and Refer - 3 simple steps that anyone can learn to help save a life from suicide. Just as people trained in CPR and the Heimlich Maneuver help save thousands of lives each year, people trained in QPR learn how to recognize the warning signs of a suicide crisis and how to question, persuade, and refer someone to get the help they need. With QPR training, you can learn how to save the life of a student, friend, colleague, family member, or neighbor.
- Presented by a certified QPR instructor, training includes information on:
- Common myths and facts associated with suicide
- Warning signs of suicide
- Tips for asking the suicide question
- Methods for persuading suicidal individuals to get help
- Ways of referring at risk people to local resources
- AND time for Questions and Answers
For more information on QPR, or to schedule a QPR training session, contact Robin Tabor at (304) 766-3168 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
In partnership with Prevent Suicide WV, WVSU students, staff and faculty can access four online, interactive, and research-proven training simulations are designed to educate about best practices in supporting students who struggle with psychological distress including depression and suicidal ideation, and student veterans who are facing challenges in adjusting to college life.
Each training takes 30-60 minutes to complete and is structured as a virtual practice environment where users learn by engaging in interactive role-play conversations with emotionally responsive student avatars. Training modules include:
At-Risk for Faculty & Staff
teaches users to identify, approach and connect students to campus support services. The program facilitates student retention, academic performance, and the overall safety of students, faculty, and the entire campus community.
At-Risk for Students
shows students how to have challenging conversations with friends and peers around mental health and how to motivate them to seek help from campus support services. This program is included in the SAMHSA National Registry of Evidence-Based Programs and Practices (NREPP).
Veterans on Campus for Faculty & Staff
helps faculty and staff in understanding the needs, experiences and cultural issues affecting student veterans as they transition to college life. This program also teaches users how to recognize signs of distress and connect veterans to appropriate campus resources.
Veterans on Campus: Peer to Peer
is a mentoring program for fellow veterans on campus. In this program, users engage in conversations with virtual students to address issues that might arise while transitioning to college life and gain skills in supporting and referring fellow veterans to appropriate support resources.
To login go to: www.kognito.com/wv
Create a New Account
Follow the on-screen instructions
Choose your course and click “LAUNCH”
In any given year, 9.5 percent of the population, or about 18.8 million American adults, suffer from a depressive illness. Depression does not discriminate. It affects men, women, and children of all ages and all cultural and economic backgrounds. Depression is a common but serious illness. It can interfere with daily life and affect work, school, and relationships. Without treatment, symptoms can last for weeks, months, or years. Many people with a depressive illness can be helped.
What is a depressive disorder?
A depressive disorder is an illness that involves the body, mood, and thoughts. It affects the way a person eats and sleeps, the way one feels about oneself, and the way one thinks about things. Scientists agree that depression is an illness of the brain, but its exact causes are not always clear. In fact, several factors, alone or in combination, can bring about the specific changes in brain chemistry that can lead to the many symptoms of depression. These factors can include genetics, changes in hormone levels, stress, grief, or dealing with substance use disorders or other medical conditions. A depressive disorder is not the same as a passing blue mood. It is not a sign of personal weakness or a condition that can be willed or wished away.
Symptoms of Depression
Not everyone who is depressed experiences every symptom. Some people experience a few symptoms, some many. Severity of symptoms varies with individuals and also varies over time.
· Persistent sad, anxious, or "empty" mood
· Feelings of hopelessness, pessimism
· Feelings of guilt, worthlessness, helplessness
· Loss of interest or pleasure in hobbies and activities that were once enjoyed, including sex
· Decreased energy, fatigue, being "slowed down"
· Difficulty concentrating, remembering, making decisions
· Insomnia, early-morning awakening, or oversleeping
· Appetite and/or weight loss or overeating and weight gain
· Thoughts of death or suicide; suicide attempts
· Restlessness, irritability
· Persistent physical symptoms that do not respond to treatment, such as headaches, digestive disorders, and chronic pain
Everyone goes through periods of sadness and experiences at least some of these symptoms from time to time, but it does not always mean that a person has clinical depression. When making a diagnosis of depression, healthcare providers look for clusters of symptoms lasting more than two weeks that affect a person’s daily life.
Safe and effective treatments for depression are available. Many people can improve with treatment, even those with severe depression. Treatment is most effective if depression is detected early and treatment is begun early. The most common treatments are medication and talk therapy (psychotherapy). For many people, the best treatment is a combination of these. Improving nutrition, sleep, and physical exercise and not misusing alcohol or other drugs can also help reduce the symptoms of depression. The support of family and friends can also be very important for recovery. It may take several tries to come up with the treatment plan that works best for each individual, and treatments that seem to be working should be monitored and adjusted if needed.
Anxiety is a normal reaction to stress, but it can become an issue when it results in obsessive thoughts, excessive worrying, or uncontrollable fears about everyday events. Often people who experience anxiety also have depression. Similar to depression, inherited characteristics, brain chemistry, and environmental factors, such as stressful life events, may all play a role in bringing about an episode of anxiety. Anxiety can be treated successfully through medication, counseling, or both.
Major types of types of anxiety discorders include:
- Panic Disorder is characterized by unexpected, repeated episodes of intense fear, accompanied by physical symptoms such as a rapid heart rate, dizziness, or sweating.
- Social Phobia or Social Anxiety Disorder is characterized by intense, persistent anxiety and self-consciousness that arise in everyday social situations, or even just in anticipating those situations.
- Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD) is characterized by recurrent, intrusive thoughts (obsessions) and/or the compulsion to engage in certain repetitive behaviors or rituals.
- Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) can develop after a terrifying ordeal that involved real or threatened physical harm.
- Specific Phobia refers to fear of specific objects or situations, and the when those objects or situations. The primary symptom of phobia is avoidance.
- Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD) involves chronic, excessive worrying about everyday matters. People with GAD often have fatigue, restlessness, insomnia, irritability, and poor concentration.
With early treatment, it is possible that anxiety disorders may be better controlled and less likely to contribute to depression later in life.