Suicide prevention support

Sometimes thoughts, and in particular suicidal thoughts, can become overwhelming. If such thoughts spiral out of control, they can put you in danger: 13% of students seriously considered suicide and 2% attempted suicide within the last 12 months (ACHA, 2019). Sadly, suicide is one of the primary causes of death among university students in the United States (Suicide Prevention Resource Center, 2014).

At AUP, we prioritize your health and safety. Our counseling services are here to evaluate the risk and urgency of any situation you may be dealing with. Recognizing signs of vulnerability is the first important step in suicide prevention. 


Signs of Vulnerability 

Signs of vulnerability can include:

  • depression, sadness, loss of interest or motivation, reclusive behavior, difficulty finding joy in pleasurable activities, a feeling of hopelessness or a difficulty concentrating;
  • aggressive or auto-aggressive behavior, impulsivity or recklessness;
  • excessive alcohol or drug consumption;
  • changes in behavior or in eating or sleep patterns;
  • expressing dark thoughts, having a suicidal plan;
  • starting to detach from one’s possessions or disengage from activities.

If you are experiencing any of the above, please reach out to a counselor for support.

How Can I Help? 

As a community, we all have a role to play in suicide prevention. However, it can sometimes be difficult to start a conversation about mental health. Here are some tips on starting that conversation.

How Can I Help a Friend in Need?

Students are often more likely to reach out first to their peers for support. Below are a few tips on how to start a conversation with your friend.

When helping your friend, remember to have a clear idea on what kind of help you are able and willing to provide. It is important that you know your own limits and boundaries, so you don't overstep them. Remember that your role is not to fix your friend’s problems, but most of all to point your friend toward the available help they need to get better, such as AUP's counseling office. Remember that your friend will confide in you in trust: what they share should therefore remain confidential, unless you’re concerned about your friend’s safety. In that case, you need then to reach out right away to one of the emergency contact and support options listed below.

How Can I Help One of My Students in Need?

Whether you are staff or faculty, working closely with students means that you will often be more likely to notice signs that a student is struggling.

Even though you may be a gatekeeper of sorts, remember that you are not alone: the chair or other members of your department, as well as the counseling office, can help you support your student. If you are concerned about a student's safety, please reach out immediately to one of the emergency contact and support options listed below: this is when confidentiality needs to be lifted.

Helpful Tips to Start a Conversation
  • Make sure you’re in a space where you won’t be interrupted and where you will feel comfortable broaching possibly sensitive subjects.
  • The best way to start the conversation is by being as straightforward as possible: “Do you have some time right now? Are you ok? I noticed this change and I’m concerned about you. How are you doing?”
  • Privilege listening over talking.
  • Be empathetic: rather than trying to fix their problem, listen to and acknowledge their difficulties and try to see things from their point of view.
  • Be fully engaged and focused on the interaction.
  • Show that you care and encourage them to seek help.
  • Check-in with them later on, especially if you said that you would.
  • Ask them directly if they’re feeling suicidal, for example: “You said that you’re feeling very sad and depressed right now and I was wondering if you'd had suicidal thoughts as well?” If they are feeling suicidal, please reach out immediately to one of the emergency contacts below.
  • If you’re unsure about the best way to help, remember that the counseling team is here to help you.
Additional Student Resources

This short video by Seize the Awkward gives you a few other examples of how to reach out to a friend.

Additional Faculty/Staff Resources

Take a look at this brief online training exercise by the Zero Suicide Alliance on suicide awareness: ZSA Gateway Module (

When a person lets you know that they have had suicidal thoughts, the best approach is to listen, express your concern and provide support. It is important to understand and validate your friend’s or student’s suffering, rather than trying to judge or argue against suicide. Know that our counseling team is here to help.



In case of emergency, these services can be contacted 24/7:

  • European Emergency Services: 112
  • International SOS: +33 1 55 63 36 35
  • SOS Help: This helpline offers support through difficult times and can be reached daily, 3pm–11pm, at 01 46 21 46 46
  • Nightline Paris: This evening hotline is run by students for students and can be reached from Thursday to Monday, 9pm–2:30am, at 01 88 32 12 33


Remember that asking about suicide will not push a person to act on suicidal thoughts; they may well be relieved to be able to share their suffering and express their pain. It is also important to keep in mind that a suicidal crisis can last several weeks, and it is therefore necessary to continue checking-in regularly, even after the first signs of improvement. 

In any case where you have concerns or need advice, please reach out to counseling services for advice and support.



Sometimes it can feel more comfortable to reach out first to a peer. The Take Care Club is here to connect you with helpful resources.

The Take Care Club is a student-led club that allows students to reach out to peer leaders in order to learn more about the different wellness and mental health opportunities that AUP has to offer, in a safe and welcoming environment.

Take Care Club also promotes events in collaboration with the Wellness Room, located in Grenelle, and creates informative events surrounding mental health and well-being.

To receive information about upcoming events, follow the Take Care Club on Instagram, @takecare_aup, or consult our AUP Engage page. For any questions or suggestions, contact the Take Care Club at The club is supervised by the guidance counselor Charlotte Vernier, who can be contacted at


The Suicide Prevention and Response Team

The Suicide Prevention and Response Team brings together essential staff, faculty and students to promote suicide prevention on campus and provide support in the case of a student death by suicide. Among other tasks, the committee: 

  • contributes to suicide prevention;
  • provides on-campus mental health and community outreach support to students, staff and faculty; and
  • conducts pre-crisis training and runs simulations to ensure preparedness.