By Breeonne Baxter on January 23, 2017
UBC’s Suicide Awareness Day is Jan. 25, 2017. Each year, this day is held to bring awareness to the UBC campus community regarding suicide prevention by educating students, staff and faculty on the resources available to them on campus.
As heads and leaders at UBC, we ask that you help us to start a conversation about suicide prevention with everyone in the University community.
Most people who take their own lives show some signs that they are thinking about it beforehand. As a head of unit, we encourage you to learn how to reach out in case you have colleagues or students in need of support.
Learn about the warning signs for suicide at http://thrive.ubc.ca/prevent-suicide/.
Assisting students in distress involves three basic principles: See, say, and do something.
See something: Pay attention to warning signs
You may be the first person to see signs that a student is in distress. It’s important to pay attention to warning signs. Mental health concerns can have a significant impact on everyday life, including academics.
Say something: Trust your instincts
Say something if you’re worried about a student or if they leave you feeling concerned. It’s okay to share your concerns about a student with someone else at the University in order to provide the student with support.
Do something: Reach out and help
A student may not know help is available or may hesitate to ask for it. Connect the student with resources and identify your concerns using Early Alert.
- Download Printable guides to helping students in distress: Green Folder (Vancouver campus) | Blue Folder (Okanagan campus)
Supporting your colleagues in distress involves similar principles to supporting students:
See Something: Recognize visible changes in behavior
If you see behaviour that is out of character or unusual for your colleagues, know that early intervention plays a key role in recovery from mental health challenges.
Say Something: Respond with concern and empathy
Often we may notice changes in behaviour, but are unsure how to approach a person having difficulties. Reaching out to a colleague shows care and concern, and opens a dialogue to check how they are doing.
Do Something: Refer your colleague to available resources
Staff and faculty may not be aware of the wide range of support services available to them, or may be hesitant to ask for help. There are ways to connect your colleagues to resources, or to learn about them together.
If you or a colleague are experiencing an emergency or crisis and require immediate counselling services, call UBC’s EFAP provider, Shepell, at 1-800-387-4765 and select the emergency option to speak to a crisis counsellor. More information on UBC’s Employee & Family Assistance Program at http://hr.ubc.ca/efap/.
Empowering yourself with knowledge and taking advantage of support can help you become more resilient when faced with challenges. http://thrive.ubc.ca/get-help/
Other Ways to Raise Awareness for Suicide Prevention at UBC
Wear orange: Wear orange on Jan. 25 to show your support for those whose lives have been affected by the suicide of friends, family members, students, or colleagues, and to show that you want to reach out to those who are considering suicide. http://thrive.ubc.ca/2017/01/09/suicide-awareness/
Take the Suicide Myths and Facts Quiz: Knowing the facts is an important part of raising suicide awareness, preventing suicide, and combating stigma. Test your knowledge by taking the quiz.
Learn more about how to prevent suicide: If you need help for yourself or if you are concerned about someone else, reach out and help prevent suicide: http://thrive.ubc.ca/prevent-suicide/
In-person trainings: Sign up for Suicide Prevention Training (QPR), or arrange a QPR training session in your unit.