College is supposed to be a time to learn, grow, and gain new life experiences, not end your life.
Sadly, there may be an increase in the number of college students who have ended their lives. The pressure to do well academically, the difficult economy exacerbating preexisting financial troubles and societal influences may be to blame.
Suicide is the second leading cause of death among college students. A survey conducted by the University of Minnesota’s Boynton Health Service in 2008 had indicated that 1.1% of the 8,000 students they had surveyed attempted suicide within the past 12 months, a slightly higher number than the previous year.
Many associate college with the ideas of promise, ambition and potential and may wonder why a student would commit suicide when they have so much going for them. A predisposition to mental illness such as depression and bipolar disorder can certainly contribute to an increase in suicidal thoughts and attempts. According to the American College Health Association, one in ten college students seriously considers suicide and nearly half suffer from significant depression at some point during their college careers.
One could claim suicide as selfish or cowardly. When a loved one ends their life with their own hands, it devastates their entire family, their entire school as well as students from other colleges. The first words that come to mind are “they were so selfish to do such a thing!”
According to the New York Times, a 20-year-old New York University student leaped to his death from the library Nov. 3. The article states that at least nine students at N.Y.U. have committed suicide since 2002, including four in 2004 alone. The university even went so far as to install Plexiglas in the windows at the Boston Library to discourage jumpers.
It is not clear at this time if the rate of college suicide is increasing or if the media coverage of such events is more prominent as of recent, but the apparent trend is definitely alarming.
Fortunately, it has also been reported that at colleges around the nation, more students are seeking help. The number of students who reported a diagnosis of depression rose from 10.3 percent in 2000 to 14.9 percent in spring of 2008, according to the American College Health Association’s annual National College Health Assessment. College students are also half as likely to commit suicide than their same-age peers.
The aftermath of suicide has affected me personally, just like numerous others. I have suffered the loss of a loved one who had taken their life. To learn of such news is, to put it simply, painful.
Something I must stress is if you or someone you know is considering suicide, get help immediately. Talk to a parent, a friend, a counselor or anyone you trust. Call the National Suicide Hotline at 1-800-448-1833. The Birkam Health Center offers counseling services here on campus. An appointment can be made by calling x5968 or by walking in during open hours.
If someone you know begs you to not tell they’re contemplating suicide or has attempted it, tell someone anyway. Suicide has a real presence on college campuses and is a real problem for the young adult age group. It is not just a headline, it is a genuine cause for awareness.