The Suicidal Student

Suicide is the 3rd leading cause of death among 15-24 year olds.

MYTH: People who talk about suicide will not do it.
FACT: Suicide threats and attempts must always be taken seriously. A person who talks about suicide is in need of some kind of help - and probably doesn't know a better way to ask for it. A majority of those who die by suicide talk about their intentions in the weeks before their death.

MYTH: Suicide happens without warning.
FACT: Most suicidal people give clues or talk about their suicidal feelings. Recognizing and responding to these can prevent suicide attempts and deaths. However, suicide is NEVER someone else's fault.

MYTH: Asking about suicide will put the idea in someone's mind.
FACT: The idea of suicide doesn't originate this way. Suicidal individuals are engaged in a private struggle with thoughts of death. Talking about the possibility of suicide can alleviate the loneliness of the struggle, and can be a first step in getting help.

High Risk Indicators Include:

  • No interest in the future
  • Strong interest in death (in readings, conversations, writing, music, art)
  • Giving away important possessions
  • Hinting about suicide
  • Talking directly about suicide
  • Talking about a plan
  • Access to a gun
  • Previous suicide attempts
  • Death by suicide of a family member or friend

Where to Refer

  • Depends on nature of problem and severity
  • Friends, family, R.A., religious professionals
  • Appropriate student service office, e.g., Student Access Center, Office of Financial Aid, Jayhawk Academic Advising...
  • Professional counseling, e.g., Counseling & Psychological Services...

**NOTE: Giving specific name(s) and information about what kind of help can be expected may help students feel safer and have more confidence in your referral.

What to know about CAPS 

  • Located: 2nd floor of Watkins Health Center
  • Phone: 785-864-CAPS (2277)

Clinical Service

8 a.m. - 5 p.m., M-F

  • Individual sessions, 50 minutes
  • Group sessions, 90 minutes
  • $15 per session for most services
  • Full-time psychiatrists, different fee schedule
  • Consultation and outreach/educational activities

Resources for Emergency and/or After-/hours Assistance 

Counseling & Psychological Services (CAPS) staff are available to consult with faculty and staff who may have concerns about a student or about a particular situation. CAPS may be reached at 785-864-CAPS and is open

  • Monday - Friday from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
  • During school breaks: Monday - Friday from 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

After hours messages may be left on the CAPS answering machine. Action is taken on messages the next business day.

Testing Services provides consultation regarding research data and helps faculty, staff, and students plan the organization of data in computer-ready format. They can also assist customers in collecting survey data in an electronic format.