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Campus Life & Inclusive Excellence

Health & Counseling Center

Health Promotion

Suicide Prevention

JED Comprehensive Approach to Suicide Prevention

The University of Denver was awarded a Garrett Lee Smith Suicide Prevention grant from SAMHSA in 2015.

Check out a summary of grant initiatives by downloading this PDF.

The University of Denver utilizes the JED Foundation's Comprehensive Approach to Suicide Prevention. Learn more about the JED Foundation and Suicide Prevention.

Knowing the signs of suicide is important in helping someone who may be at risk. By offering your understanding, reassurance and support, you can help your loved one or friend seek the help they need.

We provide some guidelines to:
  • Understand the prevalence of suicide on college campuses
  • Recognize commons signs
  • Learn how to intervene
Suicide Statistics & Facts

According to the Suicide Prevention Resource Center:

  • 44,000 people die by suicide each year
  • Suicide is the 2nd leading cause of death of college students
  • 8-10% of college students seriously consider dying by suicide each year

Based on the most recent National College Health Assessment data (Spring 2019), 10% of DU students seriously consider suicide each year.

Suicide Warning Signs
Suicide can be prevented. The best way to prevent suicide is to be aware of some of the common warning signs. Although some suicides do occur without warning, most people will show some outward signs. Recognize when someone is suicidal but importantly, be aware of the first signs of trouble.

Recognize the first signs of trouble

  • Depressed mood
  • No interest in activities
  • Changes in appetite
  • Changes in sleep patterns
  • Social withdrawal
  • Impulsive, reckless behavior
  • Uncontrollable anger
  • Increased alcohol or drug use
  • Anxiety and agitation
  • Fatigue
  • Inability to concentrate
  • Dramatic mood swings
  • Sense that life has no purpose
  • Feelings of worthlessness or guilt
  • Feelings of hopelessness or being trapped
  • Thoughts of death or suicide

Signs someone may be suicidal

  • Expresses depression, anxiety, stress, and feelings of hopelessness
  • Has increased conflicts with or aggression toward others
  • Talks or writes about death and dying, killing oneself, or ending it all
  • Starts giving away possessions or tying up loose ends
  • Withdraws from family, friends, and activities once enjoyed
  • Increases use of alcohol and/or drugs or engages in reckless behaviors
  • Gains access to guns, pills, knives, etc.
Supporting Someone in Distress

Some tips

  • Express your concern.
  • Listen, offer support and understanding – don't worry about saying the wrong thing.
  • Don't judge, argue, or act shocked by their plans.
  • Your genuine interest and support are what matters.

Don't ignore the warning signs

Suicide is a leading cause of death for college students. You can help save a life by knowing and understanding the facts of suicide prevention.

  • Ask directly if your friend is thinking about suicide. Asking will not put the idea into their head.
  • If you can't ask, find someone who can ask about suicide.
  • You may not be able to understand what your friend is going through, but you can help get them through it.
  • Be persistent, but gentle as you ask questions and get answers.
  • Offer to call for help if your friend is reluctant. Or offer to come to a first appointment. The first step is often the hardest.
  • Learn about the resources available so you can provide your friend with options.

Want to learn more about how you can support someone in distress? Request our Campus Connect Suicide Prevention training.

Resources for Students

If you are concerned about yourself or someone you know:

In the case of Emergency:

  • Call 9-1-1 or Campus Safety if it is a life-threatening emergency (ex. the individual has ingested pills or has a weapon).
    • Campus Safety: 303-871-3000
  • During business hours (Monday & Friday, 8AM-5PM, Tuesday 9AM-5PM, Wednesday & Thursday 8AM-7PM) phone the Health & Counseling Center at 303-871-2205, and speak directly with a counselor or arrange to come in for a crisis session.
  • When the office is closed, call 303-871-2205 to speak with the Counselor on Call. A counselor is available free of charge 24 hours per day, 7 days a week.
  • Complete an SOS Referral.

Non-Emergency:

  • Complete an SOS Referral.
  • Utilize Same-Day Access Services offered through the Health & Counseling Center.
    • Offered Monday through Friday from 2-4PM
    • If possible, please call ahead at 303-871-2205 to let us know you are coming
  • For more information on accessing counseling services, follow this link.

For more mental health resources, please follow this link.

Resources for Staff & Faculty

At the University of Denver, we engage in a Culture of Care & Support for individuals and the campus community to maintain their safety, health, and well-being. Through our holistic collaboration we can work together to ensure that our students are connected to the appropriate resources to meet their goals and develop new skills in navigating challenging experiences.

We continue to evolve this culture by:

  • Educating the students on the services available to support them
  • Collaborating across departments
  • Developing an environment where everyone understands their responsibility in noticing the well-being of those around them
  • Helping the campus community learn the skills to know when and how to intervene
  • Creating access to resources, document and refer students to the appropriate university office

If you are concerned about a student:

In the case of Emergency:

  • Call 9-1-1 or Campus Safety if it is a life-threatening emergency (ex. the individual has ingested pills or has a weapon).
    • Campus Safety: 303-871-3000
  • During business hours (Monday & Friday, 8AM-5PM, Tuesday 9AM-5PM, Wednesday & Thursday 8AM-7PM) phone the Health & Counseling Center at 303-871-2205, and speak directly with a counselor or arrange to come in for a crisis session.
  • When the office is closed, call 303-871-2205 to speak with the Counselor on Call. A counselor is available free of charge 24 hours per day, 7 days a week.
  • Complete an SOS Referral.

Non-Emergency:

  • Complete an SOS Referral.
  • Encourage the student to utilize Same-Day Access Services offered through the Health & Counseling Center.
    • Offered Monday through Friday from 2-4PM
    • If possible, have the student call ahead at 303-871-2205 to let us know they are coming
  • Talk to the student about accessing counseling services. For more information, follow this link.

Resources:

  • For more information about supporting a student in distress, check out the Student Outreach & Support website.
  • For tips on how to make a referral to the Health & Counseling Center, follow this link.
  • To view an online version of the Red Folder, follow this link.
  • To take an online training on responding to students in distress, log into Canvas. You should be automatically enrolled in a course titled, "Suicide Prevention Training." If you experience issues accessing this training, email [email protected].
  • To request a Suicide Prevention training for your department, follow this link.
  • If you are seeking support for yourself or a colleague, please read more about the Employee Assistance Program here.