Health Corner

By Sue Danielson


Suicide Prevention Week


Suicide Prevention Week is Monday, Sept. 8–Sunday, Sept. 14. According to the International Association of Suicide Prevention, over 800,000 people died from suicide worldwide in 2012, and it is the second leading cause of death for people between the ages of 15 and 29 years old. For every one suicide death, there are 20 suicide attempts. Being able to recognize some possible symptoms is key for helping to prevent death by suicide.



Possible warning signs:                                  


  • social isolation

  • depression

  • feeling trapped

  • sleeping less or more than usual

  • extreme mood swings

  • talking about having no reason to live

  • loss of interest in once enjoyable activities

  • changes in appetite

  • feelings of hopelessness

Risk factors for suicide may include:


  • family history of suicide

  • history of previous suicide tempts

  • mental disorders like anxiety or personality disorders

  • major physical ailment

  • drug or alcohol abuse

  • physical or emotional trauma or abuse

  • loss of job

  • loss of a relationship

If you find yourself in a situation where you think someone might be suicidal, here is what you should do:


  1. Ask them directly if they are thinking of suicide or harming themselves.

  2. Ask them if they have a plan.

  3. Don’t leave them alone. 

  4. Refer them to the appropriate resources.

Some ways to provide assistance to people who are at risk for suicide include seeking professional help, family support, and ensuring a safe environment. If someone is at immediate risk on campus, call 911 and campus security at (608) 796-3911 from an on campus phone or (608) 780-1582 from an off-campus phone. Stay with the individual until help arrives. If you or somebody you know is at risk for suicide, contact Lesley Stugelmayer, Counselor in the Student Development Center or call the 24/7 National Suicide Prevention Lifeline hotline at 1-800-273-TALK.


For more information, visit the International Association of Suicide Prevention at www.iasp.info or the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at www.suicidepreventionlifeline.org. For questions, contact Sue Danielson, health services, office at ext. 3806 or scdanielson@viterbo.edu