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Role Play #2 Follow-Up

As you watched this role play, you were probably glad that you weren't the faculty or staff person in this interaction. It can be frightening to be involved in life and death situations such as suicide attempts, especially when the student breaks off the connection.

What do you think about how the advisor handled the situation?

What would you have done similarly or differently?

What would you do now that the student has hung up?

Take a few moments to answer these questions before going on.

The most important immediate step in this particular situation is to try to locate the student so that you can arrange for an emergency medical intervention. This overdose of 24 extra strength Tylenol could very well be fatal if no intervention occurs.

When the worst happens, and a student who has made a suicide attempt hangs up when you are talking with them, you can try to call back using *69 or call 911 to see if the operator or police can trace the call.
You might also try to call the advisor to see if she knows who the student might be.

Is there someone she's been counseling who she thinks could be suicidal?

What else do you think might work based on your phone system or emergency services?

This role play was very dramatic, and while it's possible that a student who is suicidal might present in this way, fortunately most students who call or come into your office will be asking for help directly rather than acting out their suicidal feelings and plans at the moment. They will allow you to intervene and usually offer assistance.

Because suicidal ideation and attempts are common in a young adult population, it's helpful for all professionals who interact with students to increase their comfort with questioning and responding to suicide as an issue. By increasing your comfort level through asking questions about suicide, and responding to the danger level of a situation, you literally can be a lifeline for some students.


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