Suicide Prevention

  • Suicide is the second leading cause of death for college students. The number one cause of suicide for college student suicides (and all suicides) is untreated depression. The transition to college can be a stressful and difficult time, during which students may feel lost, lonely, confused, anxious, or inadequate. It is not unusual in the course of studies or work for a person to encounter challenges which may feel overwhelming; perhaps the loss of a significant person, failure to achieve one’s goals or changes in important relationships. Sometimes the challenges leave a person wondering if life in such circumstances is sustainable, whether it is worth continuing to live. 

    We know that hopelessness, despair, and feeling alienated from others are leading warning signs for people feeling suicidal. We also know that being able to talk with someone about what is troubling and hurtful can lead to different and life affirming perspectives. Expressions of concern by friends, faculty and staff, the presence of helping resources combined with the personal effort to reach out and utilize help can and often does help. 

    The materials and resources provided on this page are meant to serve as starting places to better understand the risk factors, warning signs and importance of getting help for persons feeling suicidal. Each of us matters; we can make a difference in another person’s life.   

    If at any point you wish to consult with a person trained to listen and provide support to persons who are suicidal, please call:

    • The IUP Counseling Center: 724-357-2621
    • National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-8255
      • For the Deaf and Hard of Hearing, TTY: 1-800-799-4889
    • Hopeline: 1-800-442-HOPE (1-800-442-4673)

    How to help if you are worried that someone is thinking of suicide:

    • Common myth: Using words like “suicide,” and “killing yourself” will raise the risk, put the idea of suicide in someone’s head
    • Choose a good time and place to talk
    • Say what makes you concerned, communicate that you care
    • Show empathy (e.g. “It seems like you’ve really been struggling. I wonder if you’re struggling so much that you’ve thought about suicide.”)
    • Take time to listen
    • Encourage getting more help (e.g. seeing a counselor; talking to family, friends, Residence Life staff, religious leader, etc. )
    • Don’t make promises you can’t keep (e.g. about confidentiality)
    • Make sure to take care of yourself too!

    Losing a loved one to suicide:

    • A death by suicide has a huge impact for friends, family, and community
    • Normal to feel mixed emotions: sadness, anger, guilt, fear, confusion, and many more
    • Ideas for honoring a life lost to suicide (from YouMatter):
            • Express reactions to the loss in a way that works best for you (e.g. journaling, art)
            • Create a photo album, scrapbook, or memory box
            • Create a memorial (e.g. planting a tree)
            • Connect with others who have also been impacted by the loss
            • Share stories and beliefs of lost loved ones so their thoughts and feelings can live on
            • Participate in awareness and prevention organizations/events (e.g. Suicide Task Force of Indiana County)
            • Participate in counseling or a support group

          Visit Crisis and Emergency Services for more information from the IUP Counseling Center and services available for students in crisis.

          If you are an IUP faculty member or other member of the IUP community and you have urgent questions about a student who needs immediate attention, please call 724-357-2621, and our faculty psychologists and staff members will help you with these issues. If there is an emergency after hours, please contact campus police at 724-357-2141, and they will contact us at our after-hours, on-call number.