Depression Awareness and Suicide Prevention Training. Welcome to the on-line depression awareness and suicide prevention training. In this training you will learn how to recognize and respond when a student is in distress, needs help or may be thinking about suicide. Brought to you by
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Welcome to the on-line depression awareness and suicide prevention training. In this training you will learn how to recognize and respond when a student is in distress, needs help or may be thinking about suicide.
Brought to you by
University Counseling & Testing Center & Oregon College & University Suicide Prevention Project
Special funding from
Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.
Thanks also to University Health Services at Univ. of California, Berkeley.
The training will take approximately 40 minutes.
1. Furr, Susan, et al, Suicide and Depression Among College Students. Professional Psychology: Research & Practice, 2001, 32, 97-100
2. American College Health Association Survey, Spring 2007
Students making alarming comments, such as, “What’s the point of living,” or “People would be better off without me.” It’s clear that they’re thinking about dying, but you don’t know how to begin to talk with them about getting help
As a university faculty or staff member, you can be a “gatekeeper” for students getting help. Students in distress often turn to those they know and trust. This online training will guide you through three steps that can help you assist a student who is distressed and perhaps at risk for suicide:
1.Learn to spot the warning signs
2. Know the appropriate resources
3. Connect the person to help
The following behaviors indicate that a student is distressed and might benefit from a referral for counseling:
While it’s normal for people to feel sad from time to time, clinical depression goes beyond sadness. It tends to be pervasive, affecting not only one’s mood, but one’s work, relationships, self esteem, health and outlook on the future.
Clinical depression is also more long lasting, lasting two weeks or more. While some depressed people appear sad, in other instances, depression expresses itself by the absence of emotion or emotional numbing. Such individuals may appear flat, subdued, even listless.
In class, depression may show itself by fatigue, missed morning classes, declining hygiene, and poor concentration.
Other common symptoms include:
You don’t need to diagnose a student. Yet, knowing some of these symptoms can alert you to the fact that a student may be depressed.
The important point to remember is to watch for these signs and to refer any student you think may be depressed to a mental health professional.
1. Seiden, Richard. Suicide & Life Threatening Behavior. Vol.8 (4), Winter 1978
Myth: Asking about suicide will plant the idea in someone’s head.
FACT: Asking about suicide in a straightforward and caring way will not make one suicidal. It will convey your concern and invite disclosure.
Myth: A person who attempts suicide almost never shows any warning signs.
FACT: Warning signs are often present prior to serious suicide attempts.
Myth: Once people decide to take their own life, nothing can be done to stop them.
FACT: Most people are ambivalent about suicide. Very often it can be prevented.
Academic rigor and demands more than accustomed to
First generation to attend college
Isolation from family and friends
Exposure to new beliefs and people
Drugs and alcohol
Overwhelmed by university experience
Living on one’s own
Residential living environment
Disenchantment with college
Lack of support from majority culture
Intense academic demands
Competition and isolation
Balancing work, school, home life
Anxiety around oral exams, thesis, dissertation
Relationship with faculty advisor
Questioning academic path
Decisions around career and childbearing, fast track vs. “mommy track”
Tokenism, glass ceiling, gender politicsSome sources of stress
Express your concern directly and offer to help
Be willing to listen with caring and without judgment
Use a team approach: consult with others
Be aware that the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act(FERPA) allows you to disclose information about a student to Student Life and University Counseling Center staff
Give yourself permission to be human. It’s normal to feel anxiety or other difficult feelings.
Talk to a supportive person beforehand and debrief afterward.
You don’t need to be the expert or have all the answers.
Many students who might benefit from counseling don’t come to the Counseling and Testing Center. Some reasons include:
The Counseling and Testing Center is located on the 2nd floor of the University Health and Counseling Center Building
Hours: Monday thru Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Other Important Contact Numbers:
To help you evaluate what you’ve learned from this presentation, we’d like to present you with some scenarios that you or a colleague may encounter
You've noticed some changes in Sheila and are concerned about her. Sheila seems hyperactive and is becoming more agitated everyday. You hear her talking to herself and her behavior is beginning to scare other students. You mention this to a colleague and find out that other faculty are also concerned about her.
What would be the best way to handle the situation?
Answers B or D would both work depending on the situation.
Marcos is an international student who you have known to be energetic and interested in many activities. For the past month, he has seemed to have little energy and often appears sad. He has always dressed casually, but recently he has looked disheveled and seems not to care as much about his appearance. You don't know Marcos very well, but you've chatted several times, so you decide to approach Marcos to ask if something is bothering him. He shrugs off the question and avoids you. You try one more time, and he breaks down in tears and says he cannot talk about it.
What should you do next?
The best options here are a combination of B and C and D.
Marcos is clearly experiencing something very difficult right now. Although you want to respect his privacy and desire to not discuss the issue, you should not just leave him alone. You can respect his privacy and still help him by saying something like, "okay, we don't have to talk about it, but I want you to know that we have a counseling center on campus where you can talk to a professional confidentially."
Offering to "be there" for Marcos is a good option. It lets him know that you are a good resource and that you care about how he is doing. Make sure you follow up with Marcos and see how he is doing in a few days. You can always refer him to the Counseling Center even if things seem to be a little better, because chances are the original issue is still affecting him. You can call the Center for consultation. When a trained counselor hears about a situation, they may recognize potential issues that you may not.
Offering to walk Marcos to the Counseling Center is another caring option. He may accept your offer and be relieved to have the option of talking to someone confidentially instead of to you. If he doesn't want you to go to with him, you can still give him information about how to access services. If Marcos' crying is inconsolable and he seems to need more support, find a private area for him to sit down and then proceed from there. Ask another person for help if necessary.
Cleveland, who works in your office, has begun to display spotty attendance at work. Normally, he drops by your desk to talk, but lately he has stopped visiting with you. You’ve noticed that he looks depressed and that his old friends no longer call. Cleveland has classes at 8 a.m., but he tells you he just can’t get out of bed in the morning and has been missing class.
Yesterday, you noticed that his mood suddenly had lifted. He offers to give another employee his mountain bike, saying that it was no longer needed. This morning Cleveland left his on-line blog open on the computer. The screen was open to a rambling note that made reference to global warming, the “futility of life” and the “big, quiet calm on the other side.”
What should you do?
All of the above are good options.
If you sense that a student may be at risk for suicide, it is best to bring in more help. Others may have more information that bears on the student’s well being. In this situation, the student clearly has been depressed and seems to be thinking about suicide. His sudden improvement, along with giving away his Mt. Bike and the note on his blog, are red flags. While we can’t always prevent another’s suicide, caring relationships are a protective fact against suicide. Student Life could reach out and check on the student’s welfare. They can also involve parents if that is deemed to be helpful.
Here are some other resources you may find helpful:
UO Suicide Resources: http://counseling.uoregon.edu/OUSPP_Handouts.htm
Suicide Prevention Resource Center’s College Resources:
Suicide.org – Virtual articles on various topics: http://www.suicide.org/
American Foundation for Suicide Prevention: http://www.afsp.org/
(includes links for survivors of suicide)
Now that you’ve experienced this online training, we would appreciate it if you would take a few moments to evaluate the training. This will also allow us to send you a certificate of completion. If you are willing to complete this brief evaluation, please click the link below.
To the Evaluation
To the Survey