Students Are Studying To Death
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September is National Suicide Prevention Month. Most people are indirectly or directly impacted by suicide. Being a college student, it is important to note the increasing amount of suicides on college campus each year.

Suicide is the second-leading cause of death among college students after accidents. The suicide rate among young adults aged 15-24 has tripled in the past 60 years. There are approximately 1,100 suicides that occur at colleges each year, but colleges tend to hide the amount of suicides on campuses due to fear that this will actually cause an increase in the number of suicides. Higher ranked colleges such as MIT (10.2 per 100,000 students) and Harvard (11.8 per 100,000 students) have the highest rate of these cases. The national average is between 6.5 and 7.5 per 1000 students.

Why is this? Why have 6% of undergraduate students considered taking their own lives? There are several factors, mostly related to stress, that contribute. The cost, competitiveness, and acceptance rate of colleges are contributing factors. Highly sought after programs, such as engineering, and crime rates on campus also play a part. The emotional health of college students has declined to the lowest percentage in 25 years.

What can be done to decrease this rates? Well , firstly, we need to be aware of the behavior of people around us, but also of ourselves.There are plenty of warning signs that precede suicide:

  • Trouble eating or sleeping
  • Loss in interest or personal appearance
  • Loss of interest in hobbies, work, school, etc...
  • Talking about suicide or death

Parents should also play a part in their students' mental health. Simply calling your child, sending care packages, or visiting them can significantly help lessen emotional stress. Parents should also note any changes in the students behavior while making themselves familiar with the resources available on the students' campus.

There are also ways of getting help for yourselves. Many colleges have counseling services that provide private or group help for students. At VCU, the Wellness Center partners with University Counseling services to provide immediate help for students suffering from depression, alcoholism, etc.(http://www.students.vcu.edu/counseling/services/ and http://cobe.vcu.edu/)

Fortunately, the government is starting to take notice of this trend. The Garett Lee Smith Memorial Act is a providing founds to college to raise awareness about youth suicide. The Campus Suicide Prevention Grants also supports universities in the efforts to increase the mental health state of their students.

Recognizing warning signs in yourself and others is the first step to better emotional help. Getting help is the second step; half of students who contemplated suicide did not get help. Utilize the free services that are offered on your campus. It's better to get help now than to realize to late that you need help.

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1 (800) 273 8255

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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