Getting Help for a Friend
Sometimes you might start to worry about one of your friends. They just might not seem ok. Some changes to look out for include:
- Sleeping (too much or too little)
- Eating (too much or too little)
- Not keeping up with responsibilities
- Changes in social interaction (disinterest, hostility)
- Increased substance use
- Relationship changes
- Overt signs of distress
- Mood fluctuation
- Thoughts of suicide
How to recognize warning signs of suicide:
- A pattern of talking about, asking questions about, or posting about death, dying and suicide
- Expressions of hopelessness
- Giving valued possessions away
- Saying goodbye, or making statements about events being unimportant because the person will not be around
- Dramatic language desensitizes us to true signs of danger. Don’t dismiss extreme statements as meaningless.
- If someone tells you that you need to keep his or her suicidal intentions a secret, please do not keep that secret. Under no circumstances can you keep a secret that could cause someone's death. You are not violating a privileged communication; you are taking the steps necessary to prevent death. That is an expression of love, caring, and deep concern, and is the only ethical choice in a situation as serious as this.
How to Help
- Start a conversation. Check-in. Describe the changes that you have noticed in your friend. Be specific about the behaviors that you observe.
- Express your concern. Be supportive, not judgmental.
- Reassure your friend that many people struggle with painful emotions.
- Express that you believe your friend needs help.
- Take it seriously. Get help.
Resources for Help
Who can help? You do not have to handle this alone, nor should you. Tell someone who is in a position of authority: they can provide the fastest response.
- Campus Safety & Security: (914) 633-2560
- Counseling Center: (914) 633-2038
- Residential Life: (914) 633-2336
- Off Campus & Commuter Services/Commuter Assistants: (914) 633-2243
- Health Center: (914) 633-2548
- Office of Student Development: (914) 633-2360
- Mission & Ministry/Campus Ministers: (914) 633-2772
- Faculty/Staff Members