Ask Questions and Listen: Ways to Help Prevent Suicide

  • September 20th, 2022

Suicide is the second leading cause of death among young people. While a difficult topic to discuss, it is critical to engage in this difficult work in order to help students who may need support.

The Counseling Center’s Tide Against Suicide initiative strives to create partners across campus committed to preventing suicide in the campus community. As a faculty or staff member, you can become better informed and prepared to play your part.

Know the signs of suicide.

These are only a few of the possible warning signs of suicide.

  • Previous suicide attempts, especially ones that led to a hospital visit.
  • Talking or thinking about suicide.
  • Feeling hopeless or seeing no other options.
  • Abusing alcohol or drugs.
  • Experiencing recent losses or relationship problems.
  • Feeling trapped by one’s circumstances.

If you have questions regarding other possible signs of suicide, call the Counseling Center for assistance at 205-348-3863.

Be willing to ask questions and listen well.

Although you may not be a mental health expert, you could be in a position of building relationships with students. Being willing to ask questions and listen when a student may be struggling can often provide the important link between a student in need and the resources that can help. See the training opportunities below for more information on how to build these skills.

Know campus referral resources.

UA has several resources to support students who may be struggling. The UA 911 Guide provides a list of all resources and what issues would be best addressed by each. Access and bookmark this information and consult it should you become concerned about suicide and other mental health issues among students. Encourage students to do the following:

  • Access free online self-help tools available through the Counseling Center.
  • Reach out for help from trained volunteers by texting BAMA to 741-741.

Participate in training.

Visit the Tide Against Suicide page to learn more about the initiative and ways you can access training or be a part of the team. Other opportunities:

  • Participate in a QPR (Question, Persuade, Refer) training series. QPR is a gatekeeper training program that helps attendees be more prepared to identify, engage and refer students who may be struggling with thoughts of suicide.
  • Request QPR training for your department or group from the Counseling Center at 205-348-3863 or the program request form.

The University of Alabama, part of The University of Alabama System, is the state’s flagship university. UA shapes a better world through its teaching, research and service. With a global reputation for excellence, UA provides an inclusive, forward-thinking environment and nearly 200 degree programs on a beautiful, student-centered campus. A leader in cutting-edge research, UA advances discovery, creative inquiry and knowledge through more than 30 research centers. As the state’s largest higher education institution, UA drives economic growth in Alabama and beyond.