Know the Risk Factors
- Mental disorders, particularly mood disorders, schizophrenia, anxiety disorders, and certain personality disorders
- Alcohol and other substance use disorders
- Impulsive and/or aggressive tendencies
- History of trauma or abuse
- Major physical illnesses
- Previous suicide attempt(s)
- Family history of suicide
- Job or financial loss
- Loss of relationship(s)
- Easy access to lethal means
- Local clusters of suicide
- Lack of social support and sense of isolation
- Stigma associated with asking for help
- Lack of healthcare, especially mental health and substance abuse treatment
- Cultural and religious beliefs, such as the belief that suicide is a noble resolution of a personal dilemma
- Exposure to others who have died by suicide (in real life or via the media and Internet)
Know the Warning Signs
- Talking about wanting to die or to kill themselves
- Looking for a way to kill themselves, like searching online or buying a gun
- Talking about feeling hopeless or having no reason to live
- Talking about feeling trapped or in unbearable pain
- Talking about being a burden to others
- Increasing the use of alcohol or drugs
- Acting anxious or agitated; behaving recklessly
- Sleeping too little or too much
- Withdrawing or isolating themselves
- Showing rage or talking about seeking revenge
- Extreme mood swings
Coping With Grief
The loss of a friend or loved one is among the most traumatic events that a person can experience. The emotions of grief and the grieving process are painful but natural, expected and necessary parts of healing and recovery. There is no one way and no right or wrong way to grieve, and there is no schedule or deadline for the resolution of and recovery from loss. Nevertheless, many bereaved persons share some common feelings and reactions. Often people go through the stages of the grief process known as: shock and denial, anger and guilt, depression, and resolution.
Common Reactions to Loss
Emotions and Feelings
· Sadness, yearning, depressed mood, mood changes
Changes in Behavior
· Social withdrawal and/or isolation
· Preoccupation with the deceased
· Avoiding stimuli that are reminders of the deceased
· Increased use of alcohol or substances
· Changes in activity level
Changes in Thinking
· Poor concentration
· Confusion, forgetfulness
· Feelings of unreality
How to Help Yourself Deal with Grief and Loss
- Gather information. Develop your understanding of the grieving process. Talk with members of bereavement support organizations and/or clergy. Look up resources.
- Participate in rituals/say goodbye. Ceremonies and rituals help us to make the "unreal" more real and to move toward accepting our loss. Attend the funeral or memorial service. Mark important anniversaries in ways that are meaningful to you.
- Care for yourself physically. Get adequate rest, nutrition and exercise.
- Care for yourself emotionally. Give yourself permission to grieve. Allow quiet time alone to reflect and to explore and experience your thoughts and feelings. Allow time to heal without setting unrealistic goals and deadlines. Resist/delay making major decisions or changes in your life.
- Express your feelings. Allow opportunities to express the full range of your emotions. This includes sadness, but also perhaps, fear, guilt, anger, resentment, and relief. Avoiding emotions through excessive activity, denial, or abuse of substances complicates and prolongs the pain of loss.
- Seek support. Using social support is essential. Support from others reduces isolation and loneliness and increases one's sense of security, safety and attachment. Talk to friends openly about your loss. If religion or spirituality are important to you, talk with a member of the clergy or a spiritual advisor. Consider joining a support group for people who have experienced a similar loss.
- Consider seeking professional help. Counseling Services offers individual counseling to support students with grief. We can also refer you to resources in the community.
How to Help a Friend
- Talk openly to the bereaved person about his/her loss and feelings. Don't try to offer false cheer or minimize the loss.
- Be available. Call, stop by to talk, share a meal or activity. Your presence and companionship are important.
- Listen/be patient. Listening is an often overlooked gift of yourself. Allow the bereaved person to vent feelings. Don't judge the person's thoughts or feelings. Don't feel you need to offer advice. Listening itself is very powerful.
- Take some action. Send a card, write a note, call. This is important not just immediately after the loss, but especially later, when grief is still intense but when others have resumed their daily lives and support for the bereaved may dwindle.
- Encourage self-care. Encourage your friend to care for himself or herself physically, emotionally, and socially. Encourage your friend to seek support and/or professional help, if appropriate.
- Accept your own limitations. Accept that you cannot eliminate the pain your friend is experiencing. Grief is a natural, expected response to loss and each person must work through it in his/her own way and at his/her own pace. Be supportive, but care for yourself too.
Additional Mental Health Resources for Students:
1. The Health and Wellness Office:
- Offers life skills coaching on many wellness topics including relationship issues, roommate conflicts, homesickness, loneliness, etc.Call 508-565-1544, email firstname.lastname@example.org or stop by the office at Roche Dining Commons Room 113.
2. Counseling Services:
- Offers free and confidential counseling. To make an appointment call 508-565-1331.
3. Financial Aid:
- Concerned about loans, debt, how to pay for tuition? Call 508-565-1088
4. Academic Services:
- Struggling with classes, need help managing time? Call 508-565-1306
5. Accessibility Resources:
- Have you been diagnosed with a disability? Find out about how to request accommodations. Call 508-565-1306
6. Intercultural Affairs:
- Looking for ways to become more involved with diversity? Call 508-565-1409
7. Health Services:
- From chronic headaches to upset stomachs to help managing a chronic health problem. Health Services can help address many physical ailments. Call 508-565-1331.
8. Campus Ministry:
- Whether looking to enhance your spirituality or meet new people, campus ministry can help you learn how to become your most authentic self. Call 508-565-1487.
Online surveys, support and resources:
- www.ulifeline.org/stonehill. Ulifeline is a project of the JED foundation and is a valuable resource for college mental health topics. Access to articles, personal assessment tools, hotlines, peer stories, and many self-help topics are available through this valuable site.
- Taking Care of Yourself After a Traumatic Event Handout
- Coping with Grief and Loss
- www.halfofus.com Half of Us is a collaboration between the JED Foundation and MTV to raise awareness and provide resources around college mental health.
- BASICS and ECheckup To Go is available through Health and Wellness Education for students to assess alcohol and other drug use.
- www.loveisrespect.org is a website that offers information on healthy vs unhealthy relationships including helpful quizzes and fact sheets.
- National Eating Disorders Association is a non-profit organization whose mission is to help individuals who suffer from disordered eating as well as tools for their friends and family to learn more and give support. Eating Disorder Screening Tool: Can help someone who is concerned about their own eating or a friend or loved one.