Suicide and College Students
- Suicide is the second leading cause of death among college-age students.
- It is estimated that there are more than 1,100 suicides on college campuses each year.
- Depression, which is the most common mental illness underlying suicide, affects at least 14% of the college population at any one time.
Occasional suicidal thoughts are not uncommon among college students. These thoughts become a problem when a student begins to think that suicide might be the answer to dealing with problems or painful feelings that are overwhelming at the moment. The tragedy of suicide is that intense emotional pain often prevents people from seeing alternative solutions...but this does not mean solutions do not exist. Alternatives are available and suicide is often preventable.
The Journal of the American Medical Association estimates that 95% of the people who commit suicide are suffering from a mental illness, usually depression. When a person is very depressed, they often feel hopeless and pessimistic that they will ever feel better again, which can contribute to suicidal thinking. Therefore, it is important for students to know that depression is treatable and that help is available. Early detection of depression leads to early intervention, which can reduce the risk of suicide. Below are some of the signs and symptoms of depression:
- Persistent depressed mood (feeling sad or empty)
- Feelings of helplessness, hopelessness, worthlessness, or guilt
- Indecisiveness or difficulty thinking or concentrating
- Disturbances in eating or sleeping patterns
- Chronic fatigue or loss of interest or pleasure in ordinary activities
- Irritability or increased crying spells
- Recurrent thoughts of death, thoughts of suicide, suicide plans or attempts