Concern about the possibility of suicide is understandable on any college campus. We know that suicide is the second highest cause of death (following accidents) nationally for people in the college-age group. To continue the work of making UW Tacoma as safe an environment as possible, we need for suicide prevention to be everyone's responsibility. None of us can see and hear all that goes on around us, so we all have to be alert to signs of distress in others.
Suicide Prevention at UW Tacoma
No institution can guarantee students will never attempt or complete suicide and no single prevention effort can best serve all students. At the UW Tacoma we implement many different strategies contributing to our overall suicide prevention program. The following are steps based on current research and best practice approaches:
- Student Counseling Center (SCC) services are advertised to all incoming students via a brochure given to them as part of orientation.
- Trained mental health professionals in the Student Counseling Center (253-692-4522) are available at no additional charge to all students enrolled at UW Tacoma.
- Advanced training and supervision: Doctoral psychology interns at the SCC receive specific advanced training and supervision in suicide assessment, intervention and documentation.
- Referral to professionals in the community is provided when off-campus treatment is preferred by a student, or when SCC staff are not able to meet treatment needs. Psychiatric evaluation and treatment is available off campus via referral from the SCC's licensed psychologist.
- Campus Safety (253-692-4416 or 2-4416 from a campus phone) is on duty 24/7. Our Safety and Security staff can connect to other UW support staff, Tacoma Police, or Tacoma emergency services as needed.
- Transportation to local hospitals: If urgent transportation to a local hospital is needed, but an ambulance is not necessary, staff in Campus Safety, SCC, or the Student & Enrollment Services Office can arrange for taxi service.
- No Weapons Policy: Reducing access to weapons is a proven approach to reducing suicides. Weapons are not allowed on our campus.
- Medical or Hardship Withdrawal Policy: If a medical or mental health issue makes it impossible for a student to complete a quarter, the UW Tacoma allows students to petition for a Hardship Withdrawal. See the Hardship Withdrawal Form for instructions or contact us for help with this process.
- Faculty availability and training: The UW Tacoma faculty have available to them information about mental health issues common in the college population and are frequently reminded about the support services available on campus. Periodic education and training in suicide awareness, prevention and referral skills is offered to faculty and staff of UW Tacoma.
The links below provide some very good information about preventing suicide, warning signs and how to access help; no web search can be a substitute for getting help from a caring, trained professional. This is true whether you are considering suicide or are concerned about someone who may be. The Student Counseling Center staff are available to consult with all members of the UW Tacoma campus community to help consider the best ways to assist someone who is distressed, given the uniqueness of each person and their circumstances.
Concern about the possibility of suicide is understandable on any college campus. We know that suicide is the second highest cause of death (following accidents) nationally for people in the college age group. To continue the work of making UW Tacoma as safe an environment as possible, we need for suicide prevention to be everyone's responsibility. None of us can see and hear all that goes on around us, so we all have to be alert to signs of distress in others.
Several components of the campus suicide prevention plan can be found online. A consistent theme throughout these prevention elements is our commitment to protecting not just students who may be considering suicide, but also to preserving the quality of life for the community surrounding that person.
Here are some off-campus websites we trust to provide thought and accurate guidance to those concerned about suicidal feelings and behaviors.
This site includes lots of resources specifically developed for a college population. ULifeline includes self evaluations, links to other resources, including links back to the UW Tacoma Student Success site.
- Suicide Prevention Lifeline
If you or someone you know is in emotional crisis, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255). The Lifeline is a 24-hour hotline available to anyone in emotional crisis. Your call is free and confidential. When you 1-800-273-TALK, you are calling the crisis center in the Lifeline network closest to your location. After you call, you will hear a message saying you have reached the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. You will hear hold music while your call is being routed. You will be helped by a skilled, trained crisis worker who will listen to your problems and will tell you about mental health services in your area. Your call is confidential and free.
- Lifeline content on the new YouTube Abuse and Safety Center
The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline has partnered with YouTube to offer suicide prevention resources to the YouTube online community. Lifeline content on the new YouTube Abuse and Safety Center includes information on what to do if someone on YouTube may be at risk of suicide or if someone posts harmful messages about suicide on the site. Also posted are the Lifeline number, a PSA and a link to the Lifeline channel where one can find suicide warning signs.
- American Association of Suicidology
An organization of persons focused on suicide including researchers, clinicians, preventionists, crisis workers and survivors of suicide. This site provides statistics, basic information on how to intervene with a suicidal person, and phone numbers for local agencies.
Are you concerned that someone on YouTube is a possible suicide risk? Is someone on YouTube talking about suicide in a harmful way? If you would like to report a video or comment that promotes suicide (i.e., suggests another person will kill themselves, suggests specific ways a person could kill themselves, or states that suicide is a positive thing), please flag the video for review by the YouTube team.