U-M Counseling and Psychological Services

Warning Signs:

Is Suicide a Possibility?  While suicide can be difficult to predict, warning signs do exist. None of the following signs alone necessarily indicate suicidal potential, but the presence of several indicators, particularly if they indicate a change from the person’s usual mood and style of coping, deserve close attention.

  • Suicide threats or previous suicide attempts
  • Statements revealing a desire to die
  • Alcohol and drug abuse
  • Sudden changes in behavior
  • Persistent low mood, hopelessness, anxiety, withdrawal, desperation
  • Neglect of school work, personal grooming or other routine tasks.
  • Changes in physical health such as changes in sleep habits, appetite, weight, or energy level.
  • Personal crises and major losses or rejections.
  • Making final arrangements
  • Giving away prized possessions
  • Purchasing a gun or stockpiling pills
  • Perceived or actual lack of support
  • Academic concerns that may be experienced as failure
  • Lacking coping skills and feelings of Hopelessness
  • ​Identity concerns


At UM CAPS, 38% of students have thought about or considered suicide.

Thoughts of suicide may occur when stressors exceed the ability to effectively cope, particularly for one who may be struggling with mental health concerns. Depression is the most common mental health concern associated with suicide. It is believed that major life transitions (such as leaving home and family and peer supports to attend college — an unfamiliar environment with higher academic standards) may intensify present psychological distress or trigger new mental distress.  However, other concerns including anxiety, moodiness, and substance abuse can also be related.  The most important characteristic of suicide is HOPELESSNESS. Increased awareness of issues related to suicide, particularly statistics, is a way to engage in suicide prevention and make a difference.  

According to the first National College Health Risk Behavior Survey, 10.3% of respondents reported seriously considering attempting suicide, 6.7% had made a suicide plan, and 1.5% reported they had attempted suicide one or more times in the 12 months preceding the survey. This shows that suicidal behavior falls on a continuum. One aspect is suicidal ideation (thinking about death or killing one’s self), continues with planning and preparing for suicide, and ending with threatening, attempting, and completing suicide.

University of Michigan-Ann Arbor Suicide Statistics:

  • 26% students think about suicide to some degree
    • At-risk groups reported significantly greater suicidal thoughts (this is not an exhaustive list):
      • ​Transgender/gender-fluid gender identity 64%
      • Students with disability or disabilities 43%
      • Self reported GPA < 2.4: 47%
      • Financial Stress 37-40%
  • 67% reports sometimes feeling isolated and alone

National Statistics:

  • Suicide is the #2 leading cause of death for college students
  • Approximately 1,100 suicides on college campuses per year
  • 25% know of someone who has died as a result of suicide
  • 40% know of someone who has attempted
  • 0.6% of those 18 years and older attempted suicide. 7.5% of those 18-25 seriously considered suicide (American Foundation of Suicide Prevention, 2013)
  • 4.0% of the adult U.S. population reported having suicidal thoughts in the past year. 8.8% of those 18-25 year old seriously considered suicide, 2.9% of those 18-25 year old made a plan, and 1.8% of 18-25 year olds attempted. (National Survey on Drug Use and Health, 2016)

Given this information, we want you to know about the resources and help that is available to you or someone you know who has thoughts of suicide.