Suicide prevention support

Sometimes thoughts, and in particular suicidal thoughts, can become overwhelming. If they 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 university students’ death 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 dealing with. Recognizing signs of vulnerability is the first important step regarding suicide prevention. 

 

Signs of Vunerability 

Signs of vulnerability can include:

  • Depressed mood: sadness, loss of interest or motivation, reclusive behavior, no joy in pleasurable activities, a feeling of hopelessness, a difficulty to concentrate
  • Aggressive/auto-aggressive behavior, impulsivity, recklessness
  • Excessive alcoholic or drug consumption
  • Changes in behavior, in eating- and/or sleep patterns
  • Expressing dark thoughts, having a suicidal plan
  • Starting to detach from one’s possessions, 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. However, it can be sometimes difficult to start a conversation on mental health, and here are some tips to initiate it.

How to 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 you can do. It is important that you know your own limits and boundaries so that helping doesn’t overstep what you’re able (or willing) to provide. Remember that your role is not to fix your friend’s problems but most of all to point your friend towards the help available to get better, such as the counseling office. Lastly, your friend will confide in you in trust: what is shared should then remain confidential, unless you’re concerned about your friend’s safety. You need then to reach out right away to the Emergency support (below).

How to Help One of My Students in Need?

Working closely with students (whether you are Faculty or staff) makes you oftentimes more likely to notice signs or changes that a student is struggling.

However, even if you are a gatekeeper of sorts, remember that you are not on your own: 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 your student safety, please reach out immediately to the Emergency support (below): this is when confidentiality needs to be lifted

Helpful Tips to Start a Conversation
  • Make sure that you’re in a space where you won’t be interrupted and where you will feel comfortable to broach possibly sensitive subjects
  • The best way to start the conversation is being the most straightforward 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 to talking
  • Be empathetic: rather than trying to fix their problem, listen to and acknowledge their difficulties by seeing 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 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 had suicidal thoughts as well?” If they are, please reach out immediately to the emergency contacts below
  • If you’re ensure 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 examples on how to reach out to a friend:

Additional Faculty/Staff Resources

Take a look at this brief online training by the Zero Suicide Alliance on suicide awareness: ZSA Gateway Module (relias.co.uk)

When a  person shares having 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 instead of trying to judge or argue against suicide, and to know that our counseling team is here to help.

 

EMERGENCY CONTACT AND SUPPORT

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: the helpline offers support through difficult times and can be reached from 3PM until 11PM daily 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 it and die by suicide; she might actually be relieved to be able to share her suffering being able to express the pain and share the suffering may actually be experienced as a relief. It is also important to keep in mind that a suicidal crisis can last several weeks, and it is thus 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.

 

THE TAKE CARE CLUB

Sometimes it can feel more comfortable to first reach out to a peer, and the Take Care Club is here to connect you with the resources that will help you.

The Take Care Club is a peer-to-peer support system that allows students to reach out to Peer Leaders in order to learn more about all 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 and wellbeing events surrounding mental health.

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

 

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
  • Conducts pre-crisis training and run simulations to ensure preparedness