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Suicide Awareness and Prevention

While suicidal thoughts are fairly common across the lifespan, we know that suicidal thoughts occur most frequently between the ages of 18-26, with approximately 1 out of 10 experiencing these thoughts in the past year (NIMH) and approximately 2,000 of UVA students reporting serious suicidal thoughts in the past year (ACHA survey, February 2018).

It is strongly recommended that you seek care immediately for suicidal thoughts.  At CAPS, we are available 24/7 at 434.243.5150 to provide assessment and to discuss the next steps in your care.  Similarly, we are available to consult with you if someone you know is experiencing thoughts of suicide.  You are not alone in your struggles.

There may be a wide variety of reasons why someone considers suicide.  It is not the responsibility of a student to evaluate whether or not these reasons are valid.  Rather, it's recommended that you 1) listen carefully, 2) ask open-ended questions, 3) offer a sense of hope and assess the individual's motivation for accepting care, and 3) help the person stay safe.  You may also consider asking direct questions such as, "Are you thinking about ending your life?" or "Are you thinking about suicide?"  If the response to either question is "yes," contact a professional immediately.

It is important to recognize warning signs of suicide.  Similarly, it is wise to be conversant regarding myths and facts about suicide.

Finally, here are some additional resources:

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline - 1.800.273.8255

Madison House HELPLINE - 434.295.TALK

Office of the Dean of Students - 434.924.7133

Crisis Text Line - 741741

Region Ten Emergency Services - 434.972.1800

Sexual Assault Resource Agency (SARA) - 434.977.7273

Helpguide.org - Are you feeling suicidal?

CAPS Suicide Prevention Program

UVa’s suicide prevention program was initiated in 1996 following a grant by the Clay Foundation.

The program’s emphasis is on providing services to reduce the incidence of suicide and to save lives. The structure of the program involves primary, secondary and tertiary prevention. Primary prevention revolves around community education regarding manifestations of suicidality, depression and other mental health concerns, particularly with gatekeepers. Secondary intervention focuses on clinical assessment and treatment of students at risk for suicide. Tertiary intervention includes treatment and/or case management for students at high risk, often following a suicide attempt or increased thoughts about suicide. Ongoing program assessment using the Air Force suicide prevention program areas ensures an attempt at continuous quality improvement.  For more about this program, contact Lenny Carter or Nicole Fischer.

CAPS provides a wide variety of educations outreach and prevention programs for students, faculty, and staff focusing on suicide prevention, depression, anxiety, stress, and more.  You may request a program for your group by contacting the CAPS Assistant Director for Outreach