University of Minnesota

Suicidal Behavior

Identifying the Problem

Suicide is a very serious mental health concern. A student may indicate a specific suicidal plan. The student may also express suicidal thoughts which can include expressing a wish to die. Sometimes this can be a plea for help or a warning.

Remember: People who talk about suicide, threaten to commit suicide or call suicide crisis centers are 30 times more likely than average to kill themselves.

How to Respond:

  1. Stay calm and listen
  2. Take threats and thoughts seriously
  3. Don't agree to secrecy
  4. Be accepting; do not judge
    • If a student has harmed him/herself in any way, tells you he/she has taken pills (including over the counter medications) or has an immediate suicide plan, call 911.
      • If the student reports this in an email call 911 and share this information with the responder.
      • If the student is on the phone, and there is no one available to assist you with this situation, get the student’s address, phone number, and call 911. Let the student know you will call him/her back after you get some resources to assist them.
      • If there is someone available to assist you with this situation, pass that individual a note to call 911 and keep the student on the line.
    • If a student is expressing suicidal thoughts, appears depressed or shows other distressing behaviors but does not indicate an immediate plan and/or can reassure you that they are "safe," call BHS Urgent Clinic at 612-625-8475 or use Walk-In hours at UCCS 612-624-3323 for further assessment.

You may want to ask the student for permission to contact their family.

Remember: What may seem like a "safe" medication, such as Tylenol, can be lethal if ingested inappropriately.

University Resources:

  1. Student Counseling Services
    340 Appleby Hall
    Phone: 612-624-3323
  2. Boynton Health Service, Mental Health Clinic (4th floor)
    410 Church St. SE
    Minneapolis, MN 55455
    Phone: 612-624-1444 (clinic number), 612-625-8475 (Urgent Counselor)
  3. International Student and Scholar Services (ISSS)
    190 Humphrey Center,
    Phone: 612-626-7100
  4. Fairview University Hospital Emergency Room
    Main Hospital Number: 612-672-6000
  5. Hennepin Acute Psychiatric Services
    (Hennepin County Medical Center)
  6. University of Minnesota Police Department
    511 Washington Ave SE
    100 Transportation and Safety Building
    Phone: (612) 624-3550 Non-Emergency
    911 Emergency


Twin Cities Campus: