Suicide, in many opinions is something that shouldn’t be done, because it hurts more than just the one person who makes that decision. It hurts their loved ones and their friends. But most of all, it hurts the world. If that person hadn’t committed suicide, what could they have done? Maybe one person could’ve found the cure for cancer, and another could’ve brought world peace.
Since they’re no longer here, that won’t happen—at least not for a while. But suicide is a very broad topic, especially when you look at the ages at which people make the decision to end it all. So, to narrow that topic down, here are some articles and statistics about suicide in college age students.
In the article titled “Suicide Wave Grips Columbia” the authors Shawn Cohen and Laura Italiano talk about the seven suicides that involved seven Columbia students.
Starting on January 18, 2016, and ending on December 18, 2016, seven students made the decision to end their lives.
In January Daniel, Yi-Chia, Ezekiel all decided to take their lives in a matter of a five day stretch. In September it was Uriel—a navy corpsman. In October Taylor chose to end his life. In November Nicole made the same decision, and in December Mounia also made the decision.
According to information gathered from multiple sources by collegedegreesearch.net in 2015, an average of 6% of undergraduate, and 4% of graduate students in a four year college had seriously thought about attempting suicide in the past year. Nearly half of both those groups didn’t tell anyone.
There were 7.5 suicides per 100 thousand students in the U.S. in 2015, which added up to 1,100 students taking their lives that year. One in twelve had actually written out a suicide plan, and 1.5 out of 100 students actually attempted to commit suicide.
Twelve people aged fifteen to twenty-four committed suicide in one day, which rounded out to one person dying every two hours.
The emotional health of college freshmen had declined to its lowest extent in 25 years, going from 64% saying their emotional health being above average in 1985, to 51% saying their emotional health was above average in 2015.
Campus stress producers were found to correlate with competitiveness, acceptance rate, tuition, campus crime, and the economy.
In the article “College Mental Health Crisis: Focus on Suicide” written by Steve Schlozman and Eliza Abdu-Glass, and contributed to by Gene Beresin—a professor of psychology at Harvard—the good, the bad, and the ugly of mental health services on college campuses is discussed.
The good? There are more opportunities for developmental growth, and colleges are actively recognizing the immense variety of ways that their students are coming of age. There are many offerings for people to explore who they are and what values they hold dear.
The bad? Drop-out rates, more powerful distractions from the online world, and greater academic and social expectations for students are on the rise. The ever-growing financial challenges for students and parents are also on the rise, and the decreased certainty of finding a job makes things more difficult as well. This all adds emotional stress to the students, and adds to the pressures of the outside world that they are feeling.
The ugly? As was said above, colleges have made great improvements, but are still largely ill-equipped to help students with psychological health that needs this great of an amount of help.
Some statistics that Schlozman, Abdu-Glass, and Beresin provided are;
- There are more than 1,000 suicides on college campuses each year, which adds up to 2-3 deaths every day.
- Suicide is the second leading cause of death among college students.
- More than half of college students have suicidal thoughts, and one in ten seriously consider attempting suicide.
- 80-90% of college students who committed suicide were not receiving help from the counseling centers at their college.
Following this, they asked what can be done to improve the situation? They came up with these 6 things colleges can do to help;
- Establish new educational platforms about depression and suicide.
- Increase access to mental health services.
- Support community forums
- Foster peer counseling.
- Decrease the stigma of mental illness.
- Promote means for increasing student wellbeing.
With colleges being unique, they need to tailor these things to their circumstances. If they do, the benefits are immense. If colleges act, they can literally save lives.