Myths and Facts
Myth: People who talk about suicide don't kill themselves.
Fact: Eight out of 10 persons who commit suicide have spoken about their intent before killing themselves.
Myth: Asking a person if they feel suicidal will plant the idea in their head.
Fact: Talking about suicide does not make one more suicidal. Helping someone to acknowledge their problems is a first step in solving them. Your expression of concern might help them to feel better about themselves.
Myth: The stress of being a college student makes suicide more likely.
Fact: Studies show that suicide is less likely for students than non-students of the same age and sex.
Myth: Being at prestigious schools makes suicide more likely.
Fact: Student suicide rates are not related to institutional prestige, size or to one's class standing.
Myth: A drunk person who talks about suicide should not be taken seriously.
Fact: One recent study of campuses showed over half the students committing suicide were intoxicated, most often by alcohol, and a slightly larger number were thought to have a significant substance use problem.
Myth: Suicidal students are mentally ill.
Fact: Not necessarily, although the liklihood of actual suicide for students with deep depression is four times that of their non-depressed student peers.
Suicide Warning Signs
- A previous suicide attempt
- Talking about suicide
- Drug or alcohol abuse
- Feeling hopeless or helpless
- Deep depression
- Changes in behavior and personality
- Giving away favorite possessions
- Loss of interest in friends or hobbies
Course of Action
If a friend seems depressed, ask what is going on. If they sound fatalistic, ask whether they feel suicidal. Just listening is much better than judging or advising. Tell someone at Psychological Services (863-3476 or, at night, 863-3953), or a Student Life Dean (863-3145), or a peer counselor about your concern and get their advice. If you need medical help, call Brown Emergency Medical Services at 863-4111.