Letter: Be aware of the signs and symptoms that lead to suicide

Counseling and Psychological Services would like to commend Jordan Bach-Lombardo on his column “Off the beat: Dealing with Suicide” (Jan. 28).

CPS consulted with UCPD, and UCPD reported that it did a thorough investigation to determine if there was, in fact, a suicide. Due to the anonymous nature of the posting, it could not identify an individual. At this time, there is no known reported suicide of a UC Berkeley student.

It takes courage for survivors of suicide to discuss their thoughts and feelings and the incredible impacts it has on their lives. We know that suicide on-campus or off impact a great number of students, faculty and staff, and we hope that survivors get the support they need whether it is through family, friends, religious organizations or professional counselors.

One of the emotions that Jordan speaks of is anger, which is real in the aftermath of a suicide. He also goes on to state that suicide is a selfish act, which research shows to be false. Most individuals who attempt and/or complete suicide have an irrational belief that they are an undue burden on others and that suicide will relieve others of their burden. In this way the suicidal individual may view his or her behavior, irrational as it may be, as selfless.

People who kill themselves typically do not want to die but want to end their pain; often, they see suicide as the only choice they have. While we can’t always predict suicidal behavior, we can be aware of the signs and symptoms that can lead to suicide. The University Health Services’ website includes a short online Depression Awareness and Suicide Prevention Training. We also encourage students, faculty and staff to seek out the support available to them on campus.

Counseling and Psychological Services provides free counseling to students on an urgent, drop-in basis and by appointment. Additionally, CPS counselors provide consultations to faculty and staff who need assistance with concerns about students. Urgent consultations are also available nights and weekends. CPS counselors can be reached at 510-642-9494. CARE services offers confidential assistance for faculty and staff Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., and can be reached at 510-643-7754.

Susan Bell, Ph.D
assistant director, manager of outreach and consultation
Aaron Cohen, Ph.D
staff psychologist

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