Self Injury Help
Dealing with Students Who Self-Injure
What To Do
- Approach the student in an accepting, non-judgmental way. Believe that the student is truly doing their best to take care of themselves in that moment.
- Assess extent of current injury. Does this person need immediate medical attention or can they attend to their wounds themselves?
- If necessary, call 911
- If not, allow student to care for themselves
- Be direct and specific.
- You can say something like, "Some of your friends (or other residents) have told me that you are (or have been) cutting (or burning, scratching, etc.) yourself. I know that people hurt themselves for a lot of different reasons and I am wondering if you'd like to talk about it?"
- If they are willing to talk, make sure you follow up with "Do you ever think about killing yourself?"
- "It sounds like you have a lot going on. I'd like to get you connected with someone who can help" is a good way to start a referral to the Counseling Center.
- You can help the student contact the Counseling Center at 829-7819 or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com
What NOT to do
- Don't assume it's a suicide attempt. Don't assume it's not. Ask the student if they are suicidal, want to die, etc.
- Don't try to fix or cure them. Your role is to listen empathically, determine if an ambulance is necessary, and to follow protocol for emergency situations if needed.
- Don't allow a student to self-injure in front of you. Let them know you are willing to listen and to help, but you are not comfortable watching that.
- Don't lecture. People harm themselves for a variety of reasons, and for some it feels like the only way for them to cope with their current feelings/situation. Adding guilt or shame to their obvious emotional distress is not helpful.
* You can always contact the Counseling Center with any questions. *
Campus location: Marguerite Hall, 1st FL
Office Hours: Mon-Fri, 8:30 AM to 4:30 PM
Evening Hours by Appointment
Phone: (716) 829-7819 Kim Zittel, LMHC, NCC
Director, Personal Counseling Center
Licensed Mental Health Counselor
National Certified Counselor Isabel Molina, APRN BC
Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner
Our campus ministers are available for spiritual counseling and support
The D'Youville College Health Center provides information, health counseling, and emergency treatment.
If you know a student who seems to be in trouble or may potentially harm themselves, report it to the Students of Concern Committee.
D'Youville's Disability Services Office can find you the resources you need for academic success.