How to Help
If you believe someone you know may be having suicidal thoughts, use these guidelines to help you assess the situation and decide on next steps. If you need assistance or if you have any questions please call the Counseling Center at 541-346-3227. After hours you will be connected to the After-Hours Support and Crisis Line.
Use this quick reference tool to guide you in helping someone who may be having suicidal thoughts.
Signs - Look for actions, thoughts, feeling or physical evidence of suicidal intent. This may include statements of hopelessness, worthlessness, extreme sadness or numbness.
Ask- "Are you having thoughts of suicide?" Asking the question will not give someone the idea.
Find out – Determine the need for immediate assistance. Have they made a plan? If so, more immediate action is warranted.
Enlist – Involve other persons who can provide care and support. Walk them to or call the UCTC or other listed resource. Consult with one of our counselors at 541-346-3227.
Report – File a Suicide Report with the university to initiate professional follow-up.
Tips to Remember
- Talk with your friend in private. This helps set the stage & may help minimize embarrassment or guardedness.
- Approach the conversation with compassion and avoiding judgment.
- Openly acknowledge that you are aware of their distress. It may be helpful to be specific about what you have noticed that concerns you.
- Speak directly and honestly and share your concern about their welfare.
- Be available to listen, talk, be concerned, and refer to resources.
- Directly ask if your friend has been thinking about suicide. Asking this question WON'T increase their risk.
- Take your friend seriously - most persons who die by suicide give warning of their intent.
- Listen carefully to why your friend is troubled.
- Try to see the issue from their view without necessarily agreeing or disagreeing.
- Attempt to identify the problem and explore options to deal with the problem.
- Convey realistic hope that underlying problems or issues can be resolved.
- Feel free to talk with someone else (e.g., RA, campus counselor) about your concerns to get ideas and support.
- Take care of yourself as the helper – be sure to reach out for emotional support.
- In a crisis, consider options for removing the person's access to the means for suicide, e.g., pills, knives.
- Let your friend know that effective help is available on campus.
- Don't ignore behavior or changes that concern you.
- Don't minimize the situation or depth of feeling, e.g.,"It can’t be that bad . . . it will be much better tomorrow."
- Don’t worry about saying the wrong thing. It’s fine to acknowledge that you may not have all the answers. Your genuine interest and support is what matters.
- Don't over commit yourself and not be able to deliver on what you promise.
- Don't promise to keep what they say a secret. You may need to get help & support.
- Don't ignore your limitations, such as trying to help in ways that make you feel uncomfortable or put your own life and well being at risk.
- Don’t leave your friend alone if they are imminently suicidal.
- Don’t feel that you are alone. Others on campus are happy to assist you.
UO Campus Resources
University Counseling & Testing Center 541-346-3227
After Hours Support and Crisis Line 541-346-3227
Dean of Student's Office 541-346-3216
University Health Center 541-346-2770
UO Police Dept (Non-Emergency) 541 346-2919
Community Crisis Resources
Eugene Emergency 911
White Bird Clinic (24 hour crisis) 541-687-4000
CAHOOTS Mobile Crisis 541-682-5111
Sexual Assault Support Crisis Line 541-343-7277
Womenspace Help Line 541-485-6513
Help is available. All you have to do is take the first step and make a phone call.