How to Support

To determine how to respond to distressed, disruptive, or at-risk individuals and for an extensive list of campus resources, faculty/staff resources, and 24-hour resources, please refer to the University of Akron Resources Page.

I Need Help Now

How the Dean of Students Office will Respond

When referring a suicidal student to the Dean of Students Office, the following steps will be taken:

  • A staff member will verify the student is safe:
    • Reach out to the person who submitted the referral directly to gather any new or additional information
    • Call the student directly
    • If necessary, the Dean of Students office may:
      • Contact faculty members to determine when the student last attended class
      • If the student lives on-campus, Residence Life staff may check on the student
      • Or the University of Akron police will be dispatched if necessary
  • The Dean of Students Office staff member will then:
    • Talk with the student in-person and discuss the current situation
    • Provide on-going support and work diligently to increase overall well-being and reduce the risk of harm
    • The goal is to build trust and a relationship so the student will be able to return in the future

How to Support a Friend

If your friend is exhibiting one of these symptoms, call the University of Akron Police at 330.972.7123 or 911 immediately.

  • Threatening to hurt or kill themselves or talking about wanting to die
  • Looking for ways or has a plan to kill themselves by seeking access to firearms, available pills, or other means
  • Talking or writing about death, dying, suicide, feeling hopeless, having no reason for living, or no sense of purpose in life

If your friend is exhibiting multiple of the following symptoms, particularly if the behaviors are new, have increased, or are related to a painful event, contact the National Suicide Prevention Hotline at 1-800-273-8255, submit a CARE Referral and/or consult with the Counseling and Testing Center staff. For more complete information on suicide warning signs, refer to the American Association of Suicidology and the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline.

  • Talking about feeling trapped or in unbearable pain
  • Talking about being a burden to others
  • Increased substance (alcohol or drug) use
  • Acting anxious or agitated
  • Sleeping too little or too much
  • Withdrawing or isolating themselves
  • Showing rage, uncontrolled anger, or talking about seeking revenge
  •  Having extreme mood swings
  • Acting reckless or engaging in risky activities, seemingly without thinking
  • Have they said this?
    • Can’t stop the pain - Can’t think clearly - Can’t make decisions - Can’t see any way out - Can’t sleep, eat, or work - Can’t get out of depressive state - Can’t make the sadness go away - Can’t see a future without pain - Can’t see themselves as worthwhile  - Can’t seem to gain control of their life
  • Talk with and offer support to your friend by asking, keeping them safe, being there, helping them connect to resources, and following up.
  • Be direct and open, ask “Are you thinking about killing yourself” in a calm, supportive tone
  • Discuss the specific things that you have seen that concern you
  • Actively listen to what the person is saying (this can be done through nodding, keeping eye contact, staying focused, and summarizing what you are hearing)
  • Be supportive and show interest in what they are saying
  • Offer hope that support is available and offer to go with them to see a professional
  • Follow-up with them
  • Do not judge them, debate with them, or lecture them on the value of life
  • Do not dare that person to do it
  • Do not act shocked
  • Do not swear secrecy

Reach out to the person privately and provide them with resources

Contact social media safety teams, who will reach out to connect the user with the help they need