Suicide Prevention Gatekeeper Trainings

Taking Care of Yourself

    In Crisis
    If you are in crisis and not in immediate danger of harming yourself or someone else, walk-in assessment is available during business hours Monday-Friday in counseling (Close-Hipp building, 5th Floor) throughout the year.

    If you are thinking of ending your life or hurting yourself, there is hope. Things can get better. Tell someone who can help. Call Counseling & Psychiatry at 803-777-5223. If it is after hours, you can access help through the University Police at 803-777-4215 or the Columbia Area Mental Health Center at 803-898-8888. The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, 1-800-273-8255, has people available to talk to 24 hours a day every day. The Trevor Lifeline, 1-866-488-7386, is available 24/7 for LGBTQ individuals.

    In addition to this, reach out to the people closest to you. It may feel as if there is no one available. You are not alone. You have people who love and care for you. Reach out to them. If you believe you cannot talk to your parents, find someone else: a relative, a roommate, a friend, a professor, an advisor, or a mentor.

    In addition to the above steps, take a few minutes to read this: http://www.metanoia.org/suicide/

Warning Signs of Suicide

    It is important that you know the signs of a person who is at risk for suicide. Familiarize yourself with these warning signs and sign up for a suicide prevention training.
     
    A person in acute risk for suicidal behavior most often will show:

    • Threatening to hurt or kill him or herself, or speaking of wanting to hurt or kill him/herself
    • Looking for ways to kill him/herself by seeking access to firearms, available pills, or other means
    • Talking or writing about death, dying or suicide when these actions are out of the ordinary.

    If you observe this in a student, seek help as soon as possible by calling 911 or go to the nearest emergency room if there are any immediate concerns about safety. You can also contact the counseling center at 803-777-5223. Then, complete a report to the Behavioral Intervention Team at www.sc.edu/bit. This allows the USC team to gather information quickly and determine the appropriate response to maintain the safety of students.

    Listen. Respond.
    Warning signs of a suicidal person:

    A person in acute risk for suicidal behavior most often will show:

    • Threatening to hurt or kill him or herself, or speaking of wanting to hurt or kill him/herself
    • Looking for ways to kill him/herself by seeking access to firearms, available pills, or other means
    • Talking or writing about death, dying or suicide when these actions are out of the ordinary.

    If you observe this in a student, seek help as soon as possible by calling 911 or go to the nearest emergency room if there are any immediate concerns about safety. You can also contact the counseling center at 803-777-5223. Then, complete a report to the Behavioral Intervention Team at www.sc.edu/bit. This allows the USC team to gather information quickly and determine the appropriate response to maintain the safety of students. 

    Additional Warning Signs:

    • Increased substance (alcohol or drug) use
    • Communicating no reason for living; no sense of purpose in life
    • Anxiety, agitation or inability to sleep or sleeping all the time
    • Feeling trapped—like there’s no way out
    • Hopelessness
    • Withdrawal from friends, family and society
    • Rage, uncontrolled anger or seeking revenge
    • Acting reckless or engaging in risky activities, seemingly without thinking
    • Dramatic mood changes

    Ask the person directly if they are thinking about suicide.

    • Asking them will not “put the idea” about suicide in their head.
    • Ask directly “Are you thinking of suicide?” or “It seems like you feel like things aren’t going to get better. Sometimes when people feel as if things aren’t going to get better, they think about killing themselves. Have you been thinking about killing yourself?”

    You may need to be persistent, but gentle, before they are willing to open up and talk. If you can’t ask them about suicide, find someone who can—a counselor or Residence Life staff member

    If you recognize any of these warning signs:

    Take it Seriously

    • Fifty to 75 percent of all suicides victims give some warning signs of their intentions.
    • Imminent signs must be taken seriously.

    Be Willing to Listen

    • Be non-judgmental—don’t debate whether suicide is right or wrong.
    • Express concern. Be as direct and specific as possible in stating your reasons for concern.
    • Be available—show interest, understanding, and support.
    • Ask them directly if they are thinking about suicide.
    • Asking will not “put the idea” in their head.
    • Ask “Are you thinking of suicide?” or “You seem like you feel like things aren’t going to get better. Sometimes when people feel as if things aren’t going to get better, they think about killing themselves. Have you been thinking about killing yourself?”
    • Offer hope.
    • Do not attempt to argue someone out of suicide. Rather, let the person know you care, that he/she is not alone, that suicidal feelings are often temporary and there is treatment.

Information For Faculty/Staff

    Faculty and staff are in a unique position to identify and recognize students who may be dealing with emotional distress or crisis. As a faculty or staff member, you often get the first glimpse of students in trouble, and may be the first person students turn to for help.

    Responding to students in distress, however, can be confusing and overwhelming. The counseling center welcomes the opportunity to help. Call 803-777-5223 for assistance and consultation.

    Guidelines for Interaction:

    • Talk to the student in private.
    • Express concern. Be as direct and specific as possible in stating your reasons for concern.
    • Listen carefully.
    • Repeat the essence of what the student has told you so your attempts to understand are communicated.
    • Avoid criticizing or sounding judgmental.

    Seek Professional Help
    Be actively involved in connecting the person with a mental health professional.  People contemplating suicide often don't believe they can be helped, so you may have to do more.

    • Call the counseling center at 803-777-5223, or walk in to the Close-Hipp Building on the fifth floor.
    • If someone needs help after business hours, contact the University’s Division of Law Enforcement and Safety at 803-777-4215.
    • If the above options are unavailable, call 911 or the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255).
    • Call Palmetto Behavioral Health Care Assessment Center at 803 434-4813.
    • Call Columbia Area Mental Health Center at 803 898-8888.
    • Call Lexington County Community Mental Health Center at 803-739-8600.

    Follow-up on Treatment
    Suicidal people are often hesitant to seek help and may need your continuing support to pursue treatment after an initial contact.

    Self care
    Faculty and Staff can also be at risk for mental health issues and suicide. Make self-care a part of your regular routine, develop a support system, and seek consultation with difficult students. You can also access the McLaughlin Young Group at 1-800-633-3353 for 24/7 crisis support, access to mental health services, and many other benefits. Call the Behavioral Intervention Team at 803-777-4333. Call the Student Disability Resource Center at 803-777-6142

    Call the Behavioral Intervention Team at 803-777-4333.

    Call the Office of Student Disability Services at 803-777-6142.

    Call the USC Division of Law Enforcement & Safety at 803-777-4215 or 911 for dispatch

Information For Students

    Students in emotional distress are more likely to approach friends before they speak with a professional. As a student, you may be in a position in which a friend may share their feelings with you more directly. If your friend on a social network sends out signs of distress or threatens suicide, take it seriously, and follow up with them.

    Listen. Respond.

    Ask the person directly if they are thinking about suicide.
    • Asking them will not “put the idea” about suicide in their head.
    • Ask directly “Are you thinking of suicide?” or “It seems like you feel like things aren’t going to get better. Sometimes when people feel as if things aren’t going to get better, they think about killing themselves. Have you been thinking about killing yourself?”

    You may need to be persistent, but gentle, before they are willing to open up and talk. If you can’t ask them about suicide, find someone who can—a close friend, Resident Mentor, professor or family or clergy member.

    If a student is thinking about suicide or make comments directly about suicide:

    • Connect the person with help as soon as possible.
    • Contact the counseling center at 803-777-5223.
    • If it is after business hours, contact the University’s Division of Law Enforcement and Safety at 803-777-4215, call 911, or take the person to an emergency room.
      - Tell a Resident Mentor, Residence Life Coordinator, or housing staff on duty.
    • Complete a report to the Behavioral Intervention Team at www.housing.sc.edu/bit/.
    • Don’t leave the person alone if possible and offer hope.

    If your friend states they are not thinking about suicide but appears to be in distress:

    • Listen and support him or her.
    • Connect the person with a mental health professional.
      - Early intervention can prevent things from getting worse.
    • Express care and concern.
    • Validate his or her emotions.
    • Offer hope.

    If you want to talk to someone about how to help a friend, call the counseling center at 803-777-5223. Tell the staff “I’m concerned about a friend and would like to speak with a counselor.”

    Take Care Of Yourself
    Helping a friend who is struggling can be very stressful. Be aware of your own limits and your need to stay healthy. Remember, you are not a mental healthcare provider; you are a supportive friend. If you need help, don’t hesitate to get it. The counseling center is here for you too.

Information For Parents & Family

    Counseling and Psychiatry at the University of South Carolina wants to welcome you to the UofSC family. Going to college can be exciting, challenging and stressful. College students will be exposed to many new people, ideas, opportunities and choices. Most of this can and will be exciting, yet sometimes new students can find the transition process stressful. Students in emotional distress are more likely to approach friends and family members before they speak with a professional. You may be in a position in which a student may share their feelings with you more directly or you may notice signs of distress. If your student is showing signs of emotional distress, take it seriously, and connect them with help. If you are unsure, call Counseling & Psychiatry, 803-777-5223, and ask to speak with a counselor for consultation. We are here for you, also.

    As the student in your family gets more involved on campus, you can be a helpful resource and guide. Most college students say they appreciate it when their family takes an interest in what they're doing, yet also respects their need to make their own choices. Even if you may not have all the answers, sometimes, the best way to help is to encourage people to seek other sources of information or assistance. If you notice a new student seeming nervous, lonely or depressed, you can help by encouraging him or her to seek counseling.

    * We provide personal, couple and group counseling to help students deal with stress, depression, loneliness, anxiety, identify concerns, relationship difficulties and many other issues.

    * Our services are confidential, and currently enrolled students who have paid the student health fee are eligible to receive most services at the Counseling & Psychiatry at no additional charge.

    * We offer group therapy and biofeedback services too.

    If a student is thinking about suicide or make comments directly about suicide:

    • Connect the person with help as soon as possible. Call Counseling & Psychiatry at 803-777-5223
    • If it is an emergency or outside of Counseling & Psychiatry business hours, contact the University’s Division of Law Enforcement and Safety at 803-777-4215, call 911, or take the person to an emergency room. 
    • Complete a report to the Behavioral Intervention Team at www.housing.sc.edu/bit/.
    • Don’t leave the person alone if possible and offer hope.

    If the student states they are not thinking about suicide but appears to be in distress:

    • Listen and support him or her.
    • Connect the person with a mental health professional.
      - Early intervention can prevent things from getting worse.
    • Express care and concern.
    • Validate his or her emotions.
    • Offer hope.

    If you want to talk to someone about how to help a student, call the counseling center at 803-777-5223. Tell the staff “I’m concerned about a friend and would like to speak with a counselor.”

    It is important that you know the signs of a person who is at risk for suicide. Familiarize yourself with the warning signs and sign up for a suicide prevention training.

Resources

    Campus resources

    Counseling services at 803-777-5223 or in the Close-Hipp Building on the fifth floor.
    For consultation with a counselor, call and state “I am concerned about a student and would like to speak with a counselor.”

    Call Student Health Services at 803-777-3175.

    • 24-hour, toll-free, confidential suicide prevention hotline available to anyone in suicidal crisis or emotional distress
    • Toll-free telephone number: (800)-273-TALK
    • Toll-free telephone number: (800)-273-8255
    • Anonymous, confidential, online resource center, where you can be comfortable searching for the information you need regarding emotional health
    • Leading national organization providing crisis intervention and suicide prevention services to lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and questioning (LGBTQ) young people ages 13-24
    • Offers the largest safe social networking community for LGBTQ youth
    • Dedicated to advancing knowledge on suicide prevention
    • Supports research, professional education, publicizing the magnitude of the problems of depression and suicide
    • Supports programs for suicide survivor treatment, research, and education
    • Dedicated to presenting hope and finding help for people struggling with depression, addiction, self-injury, and suicide.
    • Also called TWLOHA, exists to encourage, inform, inspire, and invest directly into treatment and recovery.
    • On a mission to communicate to lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender youth around the world that it gets better, and to create and inspire changes needed to make it better for them
    • Works to show LGBT people the levels of happiness, potential, and positivity their lives can reach
    • Dedicated to understanding and prevention of suicide
    • Promotes research, public awareness programs, public education, and training
    • National clearinghouse for info on suicide
    • Empowers students to speak openly about mental health in order to educate others and encourage help-seeking
    • Challenges culture on campus and in the community by providing info, leadership opportunities, and advocacy training to the next generation
    • Made up of student-led chapters around the nation
    • Aims to remove the stigma that surrounds mental health issues, and create a comfortable environment
    • Love is Louder is a project of The Jed Foundation created with actress Brittany Snow to support anyone feeling mistreated, misunderstood or alone.
    • A movement of all types of people who have come together to raise the volume around the message that love and support are louder than any internal or external voice that brings us down.
    • Provides information and resources to support students’ mental health and to empower them to take action on their college campuses.
    • Creating a community for teens and young adults struggling with mental health problems and encourage them to talk about what they’re experiencing by sharing their personal stories of recovery, tragedy, struggle or hope.
    •  Videos and resources from MtvU and The Jed Foundation aiming to initiate a public dialogue to raise awareness about the prevalence of mental health issues and connect students to the appropriate resources to get help.