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Protecting Students From Self Harm

Warning signs to look for in potential suicide victims

By Ashleigh Kaufman | 02/07/14 | Updated 02/07/14 | Posted in News, Campus News, Local News

Suicide is the second leading cause of death among college students, as well as the most preventable.

After the death of 19-year-old Madison Holleran, who was a track and field athlete at the University of Pennsylvania track star, STN spoke to the interim director of Counseling and Psychological Services, Nicholas Pinkerton, to inquire about warning signs to look for, and ways to help a friend in need.

Warning signs to look for include change in appetite, excessive alcohol or drug use, change in sleeping patterns, skipping class, and sever mood swings. Other warning signs include displaying emotional distress via social media, or in person.

"It’s commonly not the case that someone says the magic words, 'I’m going to commit suicide,'" Pinkerton said. "Often, it is much more vague than that. It's, "'I just don’t know if I want to be here anymore, I’m just so tired, I just want to give up.'"

According to Pinkerton, it is important to approach a friend that you feel might be showing signs of suicidal thoughts in a direct, non judgmental way. It is proven that people who are feeling that suicide is the only option often feel relieved and more willing to get help for themselves once a friend intervenes.

Resources on campus include CAPS, where students are encouraged to come to during office hours Monday through Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 4:30p.m. For more information on how to schedule appointments, please contact the office directly at (860)-768-4482.

The University is equipped with a Residential Life staff, fully capable of handling situations that occur after CAPS' office hours. However, in the event of an immediate threat that a student could potentially hurt themselves or other, Public Safety should be contacted immediately.

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