Suicides Are Preventable


  • Warning Signs That Someone May Complete Suicide
  • How to Help a Friend Who May Be Suicidal
  • Additional Resources

Learn the warning signs of suicide and things you can do if someone you know is suicidal. You could save a friend or loved one’s life with this information.

Warning Signs That Someone May Complete Suicide

  • Verbalizing a desire to die or kill themselves; e.g., "I want to kill myself," “my family would be better off without me," 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 a Friend Who May Be Suicidal

  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.
  3. ASK IF THEY ARE WILLING TO GET PROFESSIONAL HELP. Ask if they are willing/encourage them to get professional support. If they refuse, you need to let others know (such as a Residence Director on call). It is better to have an angry friend than a dead one.
  4. SCHEDULE A THERAPY APPOINTMENT. The Associate Director of Case Management (415-422-5330) can help a student who needs help to schedule an appointment with a local therapist or Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS; Gillson Hall, Lower Level, 415-422-6352). CAPS will see a student who is in crisis the same day during business hours.
  5. SHARE 24/7 SUPPORT TEXT AND PHONE NUMBERS. Two resources are the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (800-273-8255), which provides free, confidential support, and the Crisis Text Line (text BAY to 741741) to get text support from trained volunteer counselors. USF affiliates can also call CAPS' After Hours Service (415-422-6352; follow menu prompts to talk to a counselor) after 5 pm Mondays through Fridays and 24/7 on weekends, holidays, and school breaks. (Additional resources are listed in the "Crisis" section of the CAPS home page.)
  6. FOLLOW UP. Check in with your friend by phone, text, or in person to see how they're doing. Consider inviting them to meet for coffee or a meal, 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 the QPR page on our website.


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

Additional Info

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."