Helping a Suicidal Student, Remotely

If you are concerned about a student, talk to them privately

Assist them in connecting with a resource
Listen to their story and let them know you care. Ask directly about suicide, calmly and without judgment. You can ask, “Are you thinking of killing yourself?” Show understanding and take their concerns seriously. Let them know their life matters to you. A conversation may save a life.

Find out the student’s location

Because you will likely be talking to the student using some sort of electronic platform (email, video conference, phone...), you will not immediately know their location. This information is necessary if you learn they are in imminent danger and need to send emergency responders to their location. Therefore, as soon as you begin to have any concerns about a student, try to learn their current address.

If the student says they are thinking about suicide

Take the person seriously and be empathetic. Ask if they plan to act on these thoughts.

If the student has thoughts but no plan:

Assist them in connecting with a resource.

  • If the student wants to talk with a mental health professional right away, encourage them to call  Student Counseling Services at 330-941-3737 and ask to speak with a counselor.
    • If no counselor is currently available and it’s during business hours (M – F, 8 am – 5pm) have student leave call back information where you can be reached and nature of concern with support staff. The counselor will return the call as soon as possible.
    • If after hours, weekends or holidays, call 330-941-3737 and press “1” after message to be connected to Mental Health Professional who can assist the student right then.
  • If you are on a video or phone call, you could offer to call a crisis resource together (e.g., the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, 1-800-273-TALK).
  • You can encourage them to talk to their own therapist if they have one.
  • If they do not have a therapist, you can encourage them to contact the Student Counseling Services.

Fill out a YSU Person of Concern report so that the appropriate YSU staff member can reach out to support the student.

YSU Person of Concern Referral Form

Follow up with  them after the crisis to see how they are doing and let them know you care about their well-being.

If a student says they plan to kill themselves, or cannot commit to safety:

Get immediate help.

  • First, see if they are willing to let you help them get immediate help by calling the Student Counseling Services together at (330) 941-3737 and allowing you to facilitate their connection with the counselor who takes the call.
  • If they are not willing to call the Student Counseling Services, you can suggest that you together contact a local crisis response team, th National Suicide Hotline (1-800-273-TALK), 911, or the Help Network of Northeast Ohio (330) 747 2696 in order to assist them in going to the hospital.
  • If they do not agree to call together, you will need to independently contact emergency resources.
    • If you have their address: Call YSU PD (330) 941-3527 or 911 from a campus phone
    • If you do not have their address: Call YSU PD to notify them of the situation. They can try to obtain an address and initiate a wellness check.

You can also call the Student Counseling Services number on your own at any time of day or night to get guidance on how to proceed.

Crisis Resources

Student Counseling Services: (330) 941-3737        
Help Network: (330) 747-2696 or 211            
National Suicide Prevention: 1-800-273-8255
YSU Police: (330) 941-3527
Rape Crisis: (330) 782-3936
Crisis Text Line: HOPE to 741741

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