Suicide Prevention

If you or someone you know is in immediate danger of suicide, go to the nearest emergency room, call 911 or the equivalent emergency service if outside the U.S., or call USF Public Safety (415-422-2911), regardless of your location (on or off campus, in or outside CA, in or outside the U.S.).

September is National Suicide Prevention Month.  Everyone has an important role to play when it comes to preventing suicide, not only during September, but all year long. Here are steps you can take to help save lives:


If you are in immediate danger of suicide, go to the nearest emergency room, call 911 or the equivalent emergency service if outside the U.S., or call USF Public Safety (415-422-2911), regardless of your location (on or off campus, in or outside CA, in or outside the U.S.).

You can also use the following resources:

  • National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 
    1-800-273-TALK (8255)
    The Lifeline provides 24/7, free and confidential support for people in distress, anywhere in the world, as well as prevention and crisis resources for you or your loved ones. Counselors serve people in 105 languages. The website also has a live chat option.
  • Crisis Text Line
    Text HOME to 741741
    From anywhere in the U.S. or Canada, text HOME to 741741 any time to text with a trained crisis counselor about any personal or mental health crisis. Communicate with a counselor on a secure online platform; the counselor will help you move from a hot moment to a cool moment.
  • CAPS All Hours
    (855) 531-0761
    If you are a USF student in crisis or in need of other immediate mental health support, call the CAPS All Hours line at (855) 531-0761 any time to speak with a counselor. The on-call counselor’s job is to assess your safety and consult with you to try to help. Consultations are confidential, with information being given only to the on-call counseling staff and CAPS staff in most cases.

Have Hope, Get Help. Please remember that suicidal thoughts are often a symptom of depression, and depression is treatable. Reach out for support from a trusted person, or contact a therapist to discuss treatment options. To make an appointment at CAPS, call (415) 422-6352 Monday through Friday, 8:30 AM to 5:00 PM [non-emergencies only]. 

If the person is at immediate risk of suicide, tell them to call 911 or go to the nearest emergency room, or offer to take them to the ER if you are with them. You can also call USF Public Safety 24/7 at (415) 422-2911 for help, regardless of your current location or that of the person at risk; USF Public Safety can provide support and reach out to local emergency contacts. 

If you need advice, call CAPS during business hours at (415) 422-6352 or CAPS All Hours 24/7 at (855) 531-0761. You can also call the Office of the Dean of Students at  (415) 422-5330 or make a Red Folder/Student of Concern report, and the Dean's staff can reach out to the student.

If you are USF faculty or staff, visit the Guide for Faculty and Staff page for more information on how to support a student of concern.

Suicide Warning Signs

  • Verbalizing a desire to die or kill themselves; e.g., "I want to kill myself," “My family would be better off without me," "I won't be around much longer," etc.
  • Prolonged depression (low mood, fatigue, hopelessness, sleep problems, isolation, not enjoying or engaging in activities they used to like). Depression is treatable with talk therapy and/or antidepressant medication, which means that most suicides are preventable.
  • Alcohol and/or drug abuse.
  • Sudden behavior changes.
  • Giving away prized possessions.

How to Help 

  1. ASK IF THEY'RE SUICIDAL In a private setting, ask if they are having thoughts of killing themselves. (This will NOT increase their risk of suicide.) 
  2. LISTEN. Listen without interrupting or judging. Someone feeling suicidal sees suicide as a solution to an unsolvable problem; they don't see suicide as the problem itself. It may be scary to hear their thoughts, but listening with compassion can help.
  3. ASK IF THEY ARE WILLING TO GET PROFESSIONAL HELP.  Encourage them to get professional support. If they refuse (and are a USF student), let a USF staff or faculty member know. It is better to have an angry friend than a dead one.

  4. HELP THEM MAKE AN APPOINTMENT. The Associate Dean of Students (415-422-5330) can help a USF student schedule an appointment with a local therapist. You can also have the student call Counseling and Psychological Services (415-422-6352). CAPS will talk to a student who is in crisis the same day during business hours.

  5. SHARE 24/7 SUPPORT PHONE NUMBERS.  Two resources are the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (800-273-8255), which provides free, confidential support, and the Crisis Text Line (text HOME to 741741), which provides text support from trained volunteer counselors. USF affiliates can also call CAPS' All Hours (855-531-0761) 24/7 for support. (Crisis services and additional resources are listed here.)

  6. FOLLOW UP. Check in by phone, text, or in person to see how the person is doing. Consider getting together (if it's safe to do so, with the COVID pandemic), or send a card to let them know you care and are thinking of them.

Additional Resources


If you and/or your organization would like training in suicide prevention, contact CAPS to schedule a 90-minute QPR (Question, Persuade, Refer) Gatekeeper Certification training. Read more on our QPR page.


Watch this inspiring video by Logic (Live At The MTV VMAs / 2017), featuring Alessia Cara and Khalid.


Check out the page Suicide and Prevention from the Anxiety and Depression Association of America (ADAA):

"Both depression and anxiety carry a high risk of suicide," says Mark Pollack, MD, ADAA President and Grainger Professor and Chairman, Department of Psychiatry at Rush University Medical Center. "More than 90 percent of those who commit suicide have a diagnosable illness, such as clinical depression, and often in combination with anxiety or substance use disorders and other treatable mental disorders."