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Student Health Services

Suicide Prevention

Help is available 24/7 for those struggling with thoughts of suicide or feelings of hopelessness. If you're thinking about suicide or know someone who is, reach out for help right away.

Taking Care of Yourself

If you are thinking of ending your life or hurting yourself, there is hope. Things can get better.

1. Tell someone who can help.

Call Counseling and Psychiatry at 803-777-5223. 

After-Hours Numbers
Call USCPD at 803-777-4215. 
Columbia Area Mental Health Center: 803-898-8888
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-8255
The Trevor Lifeline (for LGBTQ individuals): 1-866-488-7386

2. Reach out to the people around you.

Reach out to the people closest to you. It may feel as if there is no one available, but you are not alone. You have people who love and care for you. Reach out to them. If you believe you cannot talk to your parents, find someone else: a relative, a roommate, a friend, a professor, an advisor or a mentor.


Helping Someone Else

Students in emotional distress are more likely to approach friends before they speak with a professional. If a friend sends out signs of distress, either in person or via social media, take it seriously and follow up with them

If someone makes comments about suicide: 

Find the person help as soon as possible. Don't leave the person alone if possible and offer hope.

Call the Counseling Center: 803-777-5223.

After-Hours Options

  • Call USCPD: 803-777-4215
  • Take the person to an emergency room.
  • Talk to a resident mentor, residence life coordinator or housing staff.
  • Send a report to the Behavioral Intervention Team.

If you're concerned that someone is thinking about suicide:

Ask them directly.
Ask directly “Are you thinking of suicide?” or “It seems like you feel like things aren’t going to get better. Sometimes when people feel as if things aren’t going to get better, they think about killing themselves. Have you been thinking about killing yourself?” Asking them will not “put the idea” about suicide in their head.

Don't give up.
You may need to be persistent, but gentle, before they are willing to open up and talk. If you can’t ask them about suicide, find someone who can — a close friend, resident mentor, professor, family member or clergy member.

If someone is in distress, but not in immediate danger:

1. Listen and support them. 
Express care and concern, validate their emotions and offer hope. 
2. Call the Counseling Center at 803-777-5223.
Tell the staff “I’m concerned about a friend/student and would like to speak with a counselor.” Early intervention can prevent things from getting worse.


Know the Warning Signs

Fifty to 75 percent of all suicide victims give some warning signs of their intentions. Familiarize yourself with the signs of suicide.

Suicide Prevention Training

Sign up for a session to learn to recognize the signs of suicide and get help for those struggling. 

Recognize and Respond to Distress

You can use the online program Kognito to learn the signs of psychological distress in others and to practice getting someone else the help they need. Use the code "usccolumbia" when you register.

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