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Suicide Among College Students: The Facts

Posted Dec 20 2008 6:45pm

  • Suicide is the second leading cause of death in college-age students.
  • More than 1,000 suicides occur on college campuses every year.
  • One in 12 college students have a suicide plan.

As kids come home from colleges and universities to spend the holidays with their families, be aware of changes in behavior or demeanor. If you have concerns about a college student, seek immediate medical attention. Depression and anxiety play major roles in suicidality, and both are quite treatable.

It’s important to be aware of the facts. Depression, anxiety and other mental health issues don’t just go away and aren’t simply “phases” they’ll outgrow. They are real illnesses with serious consequences.

Did you know?

  • Half of all college students have considered suicide
  • Only half of those kids thought they might benefit from counseling
  • 9.5% of students had seriously contemplated suicide
  • One in five undergrads feels constant, unremitting stress
  • In the twelve month period prior to the survey, half of the sample reported feeling very sad, one third reported feeling hopeless and 22% reported feeling so depressed as to not be able to function
  • Of the 16,000 students surveyed, only 6.2% of males and 12.8% of females reported a diagnosis of depression. Therefore, there are a large number of students who are not receiving adequate treatment and/or who remain undiagnosed
  • Of students who seriously considered suicide, 94.8% reported feeling so sad they could not function at least once in the past year, and 94.4% reported feelings of hopelessness.

Do You Want to Know Why?

Here’s what overwhelmed the college students surveyed:

  • New and unfamiliar environment
  • Academic and social pressures
  • Feelings of failure or decreased performance
  • Alienation
  • Family history of mental illness
  • Lack adequate coping skills
  • Difficulties adjusting to new demands and different work loads
  • Emotional or physical pain

Combine these concerns with risk factors including depression, sadness, hopelessness, and stress and you’ve got a ticking bomb.

What should you watch for?

  • A previous suicide attempt
  • Talking about suicide
  • Drug or alcohol abuse
  • Feeling hopeless or helpless
  • Deep depression
  • Changes in behavior and personality
  • Giving away favorite possessions
  • Loss of interest in friends or hobbies

If you notice these signs, don’t wait! Seek treatment. Get help. NOW.

For more information and support, check out the following links:

The Jed Foundation

American Foundation for Suicide Prevention

Suicide Prevention, Awareness and Support

U Life Line

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