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Health & Wellness Services Division of Student Affairs

7 tips for talking about suicide

7 tips for talking about suicide

When the topic of suicide comes up, you may feel nervous or uncertain about what to say. You might even be afraid you’ll put someone at risk if you talk about suicide. But this isn’t true. In fact, talking about suicide, even if it’s just a short conversation, can encourage people who are at risk to seek help.

Research indicates that certain types of news coverage can increase the likelihood of suicide in vulnerable individuals. But it isn’t just the media that influences people who are at risk. Conversations and reactions to suicide by peers and community members can also impact people who are struggling.

At WSU, we want to encourage members of our community to get help when they experience thoughts of suicide or other mental health concerns. To make this happen, follow our tips below to ensure you’re talking about suicide in a way that is helpful.

  1. Offer hope by sharing about the many resources and treatment options available to people struggling with thoughts of suicide
  2. Share information about warning signs and encourage others to add the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline to their contacts
  3. Talk about mental health concerns as a normal, common experience and emphasize the value of getting help when needed
  4. Refrain from sensationalizing or glamorizing suicide
  5. Avoid speculating and sharing misinformation
  6. Avoid using dramatic or graphic language, including discussion of methods for death by suicide
  7. Educate yourself by seeking out information from suicide prevention experts

Do you want to take an active role in reducing stigma around mental health or learn about how you can support someone experiencing a mental health crisis or suicidal thoughts? Sign up for our Mental Health First Aid workshop or Campus Connect.

These tips are adapted from Reporting on Suicide’s Recommendations for Reporting on Suicide.

Violence prevention toolkit for faculty & staff

Violence prevention toolkit for faculty & staff

As faculty and staff, we’re in a unique position to shape the climate of the university. We typically stay in the area and at the university longer, and many of us are in frequent contact with students.

When it comes to violence prevention, there are many ways faculty and staff help set the tone for students. You can play a critical role in efforts to reduce sex- and gender-based violence on campus.

Stalking, intimate partner violence and sexual assault are complex, difficult problems to address and it’s easy to become discouraged.

We firmly believe that while no one can do everything to stop violence, everyone can do something. To get started, check out our toolkit below for ideas and resources you can use in the year ahead.

For faculty

  • Use your syllabus. Link to the Health & Wellness Services and the Office for Equal Opportunity (OEO) in your syllabus. OEO provides sample syllabus language about campus policy prohibiting discrimination, sexual harassment and sexual misconduct.
  • Promote a safe space. Let students know your classroom is a safe space that does not tolerate violence of any kind.
  • Make sure you know the resources. If a student needs help, direct them to OEO’s list of resources. If you have concerns about a student’s emotional or psychological wellbeing, you can share your concerns with the AWARE Network.
  • Spread the word about Green Dot. On syllabus day, consider including a Green Dot slide in your presentation.
  • Need to cancel class? Call us! If you’re ill, or planning to be out, invite staff from Health & Wellness Services to host a workshop on violence prevention.
  • Have a discussion. Talk with your class, student workers and colleagues about interpersonal violence.
  • Encourage Green Dot participation. Consider providing extra credit to students who attend Green Dot events.

 For all employees

  • Get trained! Come to a Green Dot bystander training or invite us to one of your staff meetings.
  • Display a violence prevention resources poster in your office. You can request posters from Health & Wellness Services for pick up or delivery by interdepartmental mail.
  • Set an example. Model compassion for survivors of interpersonal violence.
  • Get on board with Green Dot Day of Action. Encourage your student organizations to attend a Green Dot Day of Action workshop on September 18, 2016.
  • Check in with students. Trust your gut and check in with a student if they look like they need to talk. Direct them to resources on campus or share your concerns with the AWARE Network.
  • Subscribe for updates. Sign up to receive our monthly campus health updates or occasional information about violence prevention on campus.

By taking action in our everyday lives, we can all do something to help stop violence on our campus.