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  • Create opportunities for connections in your classroom and work to engage the withdrawn or socially isolated student.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.