Health and Wellness staff discuss suicide warning signs, resources

Thursday, September 10 is Worldwide Suicide Prevention Day. In recognition of the event, Jill Perry, director of student health and wellness at Queens, and Elizabeth Davant, associate director, answer some of the most common questions students have about suicide.

What are the signs of suicidal thoughts?

While there are many signs, the most common are missing classes, withdrawing from friends and social activities, crying a lot and not leaving one’s room for days. Suicidal students may also show a lack of focus, act depressed, or make depressive statements. These students also sometimes display bad sleeping habits—such as sleeping too much or not enough—and oftentimes don’t take care of themselves. They may also use drugs or alcohol and display uncharacteristic aggression. Students who go though a life-changing event—such as a breakup, sexual assault, sports injury or death of a loved one–may also show these signs.

Students should also look to social media outlets like Twitter and Facebook for signs of suicidal thoughts or actions. Posts about different ways of dying, emotional despair, and saying goodbye are red flags.

Where can someone in need get help on campus?

On campus, there are many resources. Counselors and nurses at the Queens Health and Wellness Center are all trained in helping those who are depressed or suicidal. Last year, 19 percent of traditional undergraduate students saw a counselor. Out of this percentage, the top reasons these students sought help were anxiety and depression issues.

Besides Health and Wellness, students can also go to resident assistants, T2U facilitators, and other Queens staff, as they have all taken the suicide prevention course, Question Persuade Refer (QPR). During this program, the participants learn how to see the signs of suicide, how to communicate with the students, and how to help them.

What about off-campus help?

 Charlotte has many hotlines for those dealing suicidal thoughts.

  • CHS Behavioral Health: (704)444-2400 or 1-800-418-2065
  • Novant Behavioral Health: 1-800-786-1585
  • Mobile Crisis Team: (704) 566-3410
  • National Suicide Prevention Liveline: 1-800-273-TALK (8255) 

How can students help?

The biggest piece of advice we can give is just to ask how the person is. Don’t be afraid to ask the hard questions. Inform him or her that there are people they can talk with–whether is it a counselor, someone on the hotline, or a religiously affiliated official.

If a situation turns urgent, though, immediately contact your residence advisor or campus police. They have been trained to deal with the situation.

For more information on suicide prevention and awareness, health and wellness offerings, or how to take part in a QPR training Courses, stop by Trexler on Thursday, September 10 between 11 a.m. and 2 p.m., or email Elizabeth Davant at davante@queens.edu and Jill Perry at perryj@queens.edu.

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Published by students of Queens University of Charlotte, 1900 Selwyn Avenue, Charlotte, N.C. 28274.