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Recognizing Suicide Risk

A coworker or student in serious distress may consider doing harm to him or herself. Many suicide attempts are preceded by messages that the person is considering suicide. Verbal messages can range from “I wish I weren’t here” to a very direct “I’m going to kill myself.” Some non-verbal signals include:

  • Giving away valued possessions
  • Putting legal, financial, and other affairs in order
  • A preoccupation with death
  • Withdrawal or boredom
  • A history of depression
  • Poor grooming habits.

Each type of message about suicide should be taken seriously and may require immediate intervention. If you are concerned call the Faculty, Staff, and Student Assistance Programs at 443-997-7000 to talk with the on-call clinician.

Johns Hopkins Medicine produced an excellent video on depression awareness and suicide prevention to help others understand emotional distress.