The Impact of College Suicide on Students, Families, and Schools
Everyone has heard of suicide, and most people know at least one person who has died by suicide. Suicide is a problem that does not discriminate. It does not matter how old you are, what gender you are, what race you are, what socioeconomic class you come from, or what country you live in—suicide can touch anyone.
Although it is hard to hear about, Suicide is the second leading cause of death for college students (American Association of Suicidology, 2018). Each year, approximately 1,300 college students die by suicide ( CDC WISQARS, 2016). In addition, according to the same report from the CDC WISQARS, there are approximately 5,000 non-fatal self-inflicted injuries among college students annually. For every suicide death that occurs, it is estimated that there are 25 more suicide attempts (American Association of Suicidology, 2018).
Although these statistics may be staggering, it is important to remember that each one of these numbers represents a real person with a family and friends who will be forever impacted by their loss. In addition to the loss of human life, suicide also takes an emotional and financial toll on those left behind. According to the Suicide Prevention Resource Center (2017), the economic cost of suicide in the United States totals $51 billion each year.
College suicide is a real problem that requires immediate attention from all stakeholders to prevent the loss of precious human resources. This paper will explore the key reasons for college suicide and ways in which we can prevent it.
2. The Key Reasons for College Suicide
There is no single cause for suicide. Rather, it is the result of many factors. The National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) reports that most people who die by suicide have depression or another mental illness (depression being the most common) (2016). However, other factors such as relationship problems, stressful life events, alcohol or drug abuse, or a family history of suicide can also contribute to someone’s decision to take their own life.
2. 1 Psychological challenges
When young adults leave home for college, they often face psychological challenges for the first time in their lives. These challenges can include anxiety, depression, homesickness, andAdjustment Disorder with Depressed Mood – a condition characterized by significant distress related to adjusting to a new environment ( American Psychiatric Association, 2013). College students may also face academic pressure and anxiety about their future career prospects. For some students who have never been away from home before, this can be a very overwhelming and difficult time.
2. 1. Lack of healthy coping skills
Many young adults do not have healthy coping skills to deal with the stresses of college life. They may turn to unhealthy coping mechanisms such as alcohol or drugs to cope with their anxiety or depression. According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA), about 20 percent of college students meet the criteria for having an AUD – Alcohol Use Disorder (2016). This means that they drink excessively despite negative consequences such as poor grades or getting into fights. In addition, about 6 percent of college students meet the criteria for having a substance use disorder ( SAMHSA, 2015). This means that they have difficulty controlling their use of drugs or alcohol and continue to use despite negative consequences.
2. 1.2 Confidentiality
Another challenge that college students face is confidentiality. When they seek help from counselors or other mental health professionals, they may be worried that their parents or other adults will find out about their mental health challenges. This can prevent them from getting the help that they need.
2. 2. Schools
Schools also play a role in college suicide. According to the American Association of Suicidology (2018), most college students who die by suicide do not seek help from a mental health professional prior to their death. This suggests that there are barriers to access for mental health services on college campuses.
One barrier is the lack of available mental health services on college campuses. According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), only 41 percent of colleges and universities provide 24-hour crisis counseling and only 14 percent provide on-campus psychiatric services (2017). This means that many students who need mental health services are not able to get them.
Another barrier to access is the stigma surrounding mental illness. Many people believe that mental illness is a sign of weakness or something to be ashamed of. As a result, people may be reluctant to seek help for fear of being judged or labeled. This stigma also prevents people from talking about their experiences with mental illness, which can make it difficult to get help.
2. 2.1 Psychiatrists
One way that schools can improve access to mental health services is by hiring more psychiatrists. Psychiatrists are medical doctors who specialize in the diagnosis and treatment of mental illness. They can prescribe medication and provide therapy to treat their patients. According to the American Psychiatric Association (APA), there is a shortage of psychiatrists in the United States (2015). This shortage is especially pronounced in rural areas and among certain populations such as children and adolescents, people with severe mental illness, and people who are economically disadvantaged. As a result, many people who need psychiatric care do not have access to it.
2. 2.2 Parents
Parents also play a role in college suicide prevention. They can talk to their kids aboutmental health and let them know that it is okay to seek help if they are struggling. They can alsoEncourage their kids to get involved in activities that they enjoy and make sure that they have a support system of friends and family members to rely on. In addition, parents can keep an eye out for warning signs of suicide such as changes in mood, behavior, or sleeping habits; withdrawing from friends and activities; talking about death or suicide; or giving away prized possessions (NIMH, 2016). If you are concerned about your child’s mental health, you should talk to them about it and encourage them to seek help from a mental health professional if needed.
2. 3. Peers
Peers also play an important role in college suicide prevention. They can provide support to their friends who are struggling and help them to connect with resources if needed. They can also keep an eye out for warning signs of suicide and encourage their friends to get help if they are struggling.
2. 4 Media
The media also has a role to play in college suicide prevention. The way that the media talks about mental illness and suicide can impact how people think and feel about these issues. For example, if the media only focuses on the negative aspects of mental illness, it can make people more likely to stigmatize those with mental illness. On the other hand, if the media portrays mental illness in a more realistic and positive light, it can help to reduce the stigma surrounding mental illness and make people more likely to seek help if they need it.
3. The Role of Social Media in College Suicide
Social media is a relatively new phenomenon, and its role in college suicide is not yet fully understood. However, there is some evidence to suggest that social media can contribute to mental health problems among college students. For example, one study found that the more time college students spend on social media, the more likely they are to experience symptoms of anxiety and depression (Hoyt, 2018). In addition, social media can be a trigger for those who are struggling with mental health problems. For example, if someone is struggling with an eating disorder, looking at pictures of thin or “perfect” bodies on social media can trigger feelings of inadequacy or insecurity.
In addition, social media can be used as a tool for cyberbullying. Cyberbullying is when someone is harassed, threatened, or humiliated online. This can have a significant impact on someone’s mental health, and it can even lead to suicidal thoughts or attempts. If you are being cyberbullied, it is important to tell someone who can help, such as a trusted adult or the administrators of the social media platform where the bullying is taking place.
4. The Impact of Addiction on College Suicide
Addiction is another factor that can contribute to college suicide. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), about 1 in 4 college students meet the criteria for having a substance use disorder (2016). This means that they have difficulty controlling their use of drugs or alcohol and continue to use despite negative consequences such as poor grades or financial problems. Substance abuse can lead to addiction, which is a chronic brain disease characterized by compulsive drug seeking and use despite negative consequences. Addiction can have a profound impact on someone’s life, and it can lead to financial problems, relationship problems, legal problems, and even death.
If you or someone you know is struggling with addiction, it is important to seek help from a professional who can provide treatment and support. There are many treatment options available, and there is no one “right” way to recover from addiction. However, treatment should be individualized to meet each person’s unique needs. Some people may need medication to help them detoxify from drugs or alcohol, while others may benefit from therapy or 12-step programs such as Alcoholics Anonymous or Narcotics Anonymous. It is important to find a treatment program that works for you