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Responding to Suicide Gestures
Do's and Dont's
- Do show that you take the student's feelings seriously.
- Do let the student know that you want to help.
- Do listen attentively and empathize.
- Do take every threat seriously.
- Do reassure that, with help and motivation, (s)he can develop a more positive outlook.
- Do stay close until help is available or risk has passed.
- Don't try to shock or challenge the student.
- Don't assume the student is only seeking attention.
- Don't become argumentative.
- Don't react with shock or disdain at the student's thoughts and feelings.
- Don't discount the student's distress.
- Don't leave the student alone.
More Tips for Faculty
- Create opportunities for connections in your classroom and work to engage the withdrawn or socially isolated student.
- Phrase feedback positively whenever possible.
- During critiques, emphasize the purpose, process and benefit of them.Seek to normalize the experience by using examples, such as an invited upperclassman's work.
- Understand that some students lack basic life skills and are playing catch-up in many areas.