Suicide is the second leading cause of death among college students. Most people who contemplate suicide are ambivalent about killing themselves and typically respond to help. Suicidal students usually attempt to communicate their feelings prior to attempting suicide.

High risk indicators include:

  • Feelings of hopelessness, helplessness, and futility
  • A severe loss or threat of loss
  • A detailed suicidal plan
  • History of a previous attempt
  • History of alcohol or drug abuse
  • Feelings of alienation and isolation


  • Minimize the situation or depth of feeling, e.g., "Oh it will be much better tomorrow."
  • Over commit yourself and, therefore, not be able to deliver on what you promise.
  • Ignore your limitations.


  • Take the student seriously - 80 percent of individuals who complete suicide give warning of their intent.
  • Acknowledge that a threat of or attempt at suicide is a plea for help.
  • Be available to listen, to talk, to be concerned, but refer the student to the San Diego Crisis Team 1 (888) 724-7240 or to Counseling & Psychological Services (619) 594-5220.
  • Take care of yourself. Helping someone who is suicidal is hard, demanding, and draining work.