Suicide and Depression Help

If you know someone is suicidal, get help IMMEDIATELY by contacting a mental health professional, by calling 9-1-1, or by calling The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 (TALK). The Sonoma County Crisis Line is available 24 hours a day at 707-576-8181 as is Sonoma University Police at 707-664-4444.

If you or someone you know is feeling depressed or suicidal it is important to get appropriate treatment as soon as possible. The most important thing friends and family can do to help an individual who is depressed or suicidal is to help this person receive the appropriate treatment.

SSU Counseling and Psychological Services:

Located: Stevenson Hall 1088
Phone: (707) 664-2153
Hours: 8:00-5:00pm Monday-Friday
Emergency Drop in hours: Monday- Thursday 10:00 - 4:00
There is no appointment necessary for an emergency drop in.

QPR Training

QPR: "Q"uestion, "P"ersuade "R"efer

CAPS offers free trainings to faculty and staff in QPR, a suicide prevention program that educates attendees in how to assess a student in distress and intervene in a suicidal crisis. Please call the CAPS office (707-664-2153) for more information regarding upcoming trainings or scheduling a training for your department.

If CAPS is closed and you need immediate help, please call one of the following numbers:

University Police


Psychiatric Emergency Services:

3322 Chanate Road
Santa Rosa, CA 95404
EMERGENCY Phone: (707) 576-8181 or 1-800-746-8181

Psychiatric Emergency Services is staffed 24 hours a day and is available for crisis assessment, screening for psychiatric inpatient admissions, and emergency mental health counseling.

Suicide Hotlines:

Psychiatric Emergency Services 1-800-746-8181

Suicide Prevention and Crisis Counseling 1-800-SUICIDE

Text Line: Text 741741 when in crisis. Available 24/7 in the USA. For information:


Warning Signs of Suicide
When You Fear Someone May Take Their Life - Know The Facts
Depression - Signs and Symptoms
Resource List for Students

Warning Signs of Suicide

Suicide can be prevented. While some suicides occur without any outward warning, most people who are suicidal do give warnings. Prevent the suicide of loved ones by learning to recognize the signs of someone at risk, taking those signs seriously and knowing how to respond to them.

Most people who are suicidal desperately want to live but are unable to find another way to cope with their thoughts or feelings. Almost all college students who die by suicide are suffering from an emotional disorder, most commonly depression. Other emotional problems can increase the risk for suicide too, such as anxiety disorders, bipolar disorder, substance abuse or eating disorders.

Identifying and treating these illnesses is especially important because someone with an untreated emotional disorder may be more likely to attempt suicide in the wake of a stressful event such as a death, relationship difficulties or a failed exam.

Know the Warning Signs

The most effective way to prevent suicide is to know the warning signs, take those signs seriously, and respond appropriately. People who are suicidal can be helped with the proper treatment. Common warning signs of suicide include:

  • Hopelessness
  • Rage, uncontrolled anger, or seeking revenge
  • Acting reckless or engaging in risky activities, seemingly without thinking
  • Feeling trapped - like there's no way out
  • Increased alcohol or drug use
  • Withdrawing from friends, family and society
  • Anxiety, agitation, unable to sleep or sleeping all the time
  • Dramatic mood changes
  • Expressing no reason for living or no sense of purpose in life
  • Making a plan:
    Giving away prized possessions
    Sudden or impulsive purchase of a firearm
    Obtaining other means of killing oneself such as poisons or medications

***If you witness, hear or see anyone exhibiting the signs above, get help IMMEDIATELY by contacting a mental health professional or calling 9-1-1 or The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 (TALK). The Sonoma County Crisis Line is available 24 hours a day at 707-576-8181 or Sonoma State University Police at 707-664-4444 also available 24 hours a day***

Campus Resources

Help is available on or around campuses through the following resources:

  • Counseling & Psychological Services
  • Student Health center
  • Resident hall director, dean, academic advisor, tutor, or faculty
  • Campus religious or spiritual leader
  • Community mental health center
  • Local crisis center or hotlines

In an Emergency

If you cannot reach the contacts listed above during a crisis:

  • Take the individual to an emergency room or mental health walk-in clinic
  • Do not leave the person alone until professional help is with him/her
  • Remove any firearms, alcohol, drugs, or sharp objects that could be used in a suicide attempt

When You Fear Someone May Take Their Life - Know the Facts

Most suicidal individuals give some warning of their intentions. The most effective way to prevent a friend or loved one from taking his or her life is to recognize the factors that put people at risk for suicide take warning signs seriously and know how to respond.

Know the Facts


More than 90 percent of people who kill themselves are suffering from one or more psychiatric disorders, in particular:

  • Major depression (especially when combined with alcohol and/or drug abuse)
  • Bipolar depression
  • Alcohol abuse and dependence
  • Drug abuse and dependence
  • Schizophrenia
  • Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
  • Eating disorders
  • Personality disorders

Depression and the other mental disorders that may lead to suicide are -- in most cases -- both recognizable and treatable. Remember, depression can be lethal.

The core symptoms of major depression are a "down" or depressed mood most of the day or a loss of interest or pleasure in activities that were previously enjoyed for at least two weeks, as well as:

  • Changes in sleeping patterns
  • Change in appetite or weight
  • Intense anxiety, agitation, restlessness or being slowed down
  • Fatigue or loss of energy
  • Decreased concentration, indecisiveness or poorer memory
  • Feelings of hopelessness, worthlessness, self-reproach or excessive or inappropriate guilt
  • Recurrent thoughts of death or suicide


Between 25 and 50 percent of people who kill themselves had previously attempted suicide. Those who have made suicide attempts are at higher risk for actually taking their own lives.

Availability of means

  • In the presence of depression and other risk factors, ready access to guns and other weapons, medications or other methods of self-harm increases suicide risk.

Recognize the Imminent Dangers

The signs that most directly warn of suicide include:

  • Threatening to hurt or kill oneself
  • Looking for ways to kill oneself (weapons, pills or other means)
  • Talking or writing about death, dying or suicide
  • Has made plans or preparations for a potentially serious attempt

Other warning signs include expressions or other indications of certain intense feelings in addition to depression, in particular:

  • Insomnia
  • Intense anxiety, usually exhibited as psychic
  • pain or internal tension, as well as panic attacks
  • Feeling desperate or trapped -- like there's no way out
  • Feeling hopeless
  • Feeling there's no reason or purpose to live
  • Rage or anger

Certain behaviors can also serve as warning signs, particularly when they are not characteristic of the person's normal behavior. These include:

  • Acting reckless or engaging in risky activities
  • Engaging in violent or self-destructive behavior
  • Increasing alcohol or drug use
  • Withdrawing from friends or family

Take it Seriously

  • Fifty to 75 percent of all suicides give some warning of their intentions to a friend or family member.
  • Imminent signs must be taken seriously.

Be Willing to Listen

  • Start by telling the person you are concerned and give him/her examples.
  • If he/she is depressed, don't be afraid to ask whether he/she is considering suicide, or if he/she has a particular plan or method in mind.
  • Ask if they have a therapist and are taking medication.
  • Do not attempt to argue someone out of suicide. Rather, let the person know you care, that he/she is not alone, that suicidal feelings are temporary and that depression can be treated. Avoid the temptation to say, "You have so much to live for," or "Your suicide will hurt your family."

Seek Professional Help

  • Be actively involved in encouraging the person to see a physician or mental health professional immediately.
  • Individuals contemplating suicide often don't believe they can be helped, so you may have to do more.
  • Help the person find a knowledgeable mental health professional or a reputable treatment facility, and take them to the treatment.

In an Acute Crisis

  • If a friend or loved one is threatening, talking about or making plans for suicide, these are signs of an acute crisis.
  • Do not leave the person alone.
  • Remove from the vicinity any firearms, drugs or sharp objects that could be used for suicide.
  • Take the person to an emergency room or walk-in clinic at a psychiatric hospital.
  • If a psychiatric facility is unavailable, go to your nearest hospital or clinic.
  • If the above options are unavailable, call 911 or the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255).

Follow-up on Treatment

  • Suicidal individuals are often hesitant to seek help and may need your continuing support to pursue treatment after an initial contact.
  • If medication is prescribed, make sure your friend or loved one is taking it exactly as prescribed. Be aware of possible side effects and be sure to notify the physician if the person seems to be getting worse. Usually, alternative medications can be prescribed.
  • Frequently the first medication doesn't work. It takes time and persistence to find the right medication(s) and therapist for the individual person.

Depression Signs and Symptoms

People often use the word “depression” to refer to general, everyday feelings of sadness or being down. In fact, depression is a medical condition that can affect a person's ability to work, study, interact with people or take care of themselves.The symptoms of depression can last months to years if untreated.

Depression isn't always easy to spot.

It may be expressed through the abuse of drugs and alcohol; sexual promiscuity; or hostile, aggressive, and risk-taking behavior. Many factors can contribute to the onset of depression, including the presence of other emotional disorders, stress, poor nutrition, physical illness, personal loss and relationship difficulties.

The good news is that depression is highly treatable. Medication and/or counseling can help. It is not uncommon for people who are depressed to think about suicide, and it is important to for someone having these thoughts to seek help immediately.

Signs and Symptoms of Depression

  • Persistently sad, anxious, irritable or empty mood
  • Loss of interest in previously enjoyable activities, including sex
  • Withdrawal from friends and family
  • Trouble sleeping or sleeping too much
  • Feeling tired or rundown
  • Significant change in appetite and/or weight
  • Anger and rage
  • Overreaction to criticism
  • Feeling unable to meet expectations
  • Difficulty thinking, concentrating, remembering or making decisions
  • Feeling restless or agitated
  • Feelings of worthlessness, hopelessness or guilt
  • Persistent physical symptoms such as headaches, digestive problems or chronic pain that do not respond to routine treatment
  • Substance abuse problems
  • Recurrent thoughts of death or suicide

Resource List for Students

Organizations and Websites

American Foundation for Suicide Prevention
120 Wall Street, 22nd Floor
New York, NY 10005

• Facts about suicide and depression
• Suicide statistics
• Information about current research and educational projects, including the College Screening Project and the teen public service campaign “Suicide Shouldn't Be a Secret”
• Support for survivors (family and friends who have lost someone to suicide): information, support group directory, healing conferences

American Association of Suicidology

4201 Connecticut Avenue, NW, Suite 408
Washington, DC 20008
(202) 237-2280

• Facts about suicide and depression
• Support for survivors
• Annual Conference for researchers, clinicians, survivors, school personnel, volunteers, and other mental health professionals
• Directory of Suicide Prevention and Crisis Intervention Agencies in the U.S.

Jed Foundation

583 Broadway, Suite 8B
New York, NY 10012
(212) 343-0016

• Facts about youth suicide
• Information on mental health for parents of college-bound students
• Ulifeline, an online mental health resource for students in participating schools. Students can locate their school's counseling center, take a self-evaluation test and learn more about mental health and medications

Active Minds On Campus on Campus

4831 36th Street, NW, #309
Washington, DC 20008
(240) 401-3182

• Fact sheets on mental illness
• Information about starting an Active Minds On Campus chapter and planning events at your school to create awareness about mental health

Campus Blues

• Information about common problems in college, including mental disorders

Books about Depression and Suicide

An Unquiet Mind: A Memoir of Moods and Madness
By Kay Redfield Jamison

Touched with Fire: Manic-Depressive Illness and the Artistic Temperament
By Kay Redfield Jamison

Night Falls Fast: Understanding Suicide
By Kay Redfield Jamison

Undoing Depression
By Richard O'Connor

Speaking of Sadness: Depression, Disconnection, and the Meanings of Illness
By David Karp

Lie Down Darkness
By William Styron

Understanding Depression
By Raymond DePaulo

Suicide in America
By Herbert Hendin