College Suicide | Mental Health Statistics

The suicide rate amongst young adults, ages fifteen to twenty-four, tripled since the 50s and suicide is presently the 2nd most common cause of fatalities amongst college students, according to the ACHA (American College Health Association).


Those young people often are away from friends and home for the very first time. They are residing with strangers, far away from support systems, as well as working underneath pressure – with disrupted eating, sleeping, and exercise patterns. You can hardly produce a more stressful environment, especially as depression or additional mental health problems come into the picture. Here is a snapshot of the statistics upon college suicides and teenage suicide attempts, and what a few colleges are doing to be of assistance.

Specialists estimate 10,888 suicides happen at colleges each year – which is around 7.5 per 100,000 students. One in twelve college students actually have made a suicide preparation during some point and 1.5 of every 100 actually has tried it, according to one ACHA report within 2002.


Of course, numbers differ on various campuses. For example, Arizona State University estimates that eleven percent of its students thought about suicide, and one percent tried it within 2006. Plus, there’ve been suicide clusters. Six college students committed suicide in Cornell University in between September of 2009 and March of 2010, including 2 within the same week, within the same department as well as by the same manner, jumping off one of the bridges which crisscross this Ithaca campus.


Teenagers who have mental health illnesses, involving depression, will be most at risk. According to the ACHA, the majority of eighteen-year-olds who have depression have never been treated. Within a 2008 ACHA report, 25.6 percent of male students and 31.7 percent of female college students reported that upon a minimum of a single occasion within the past year, they’d seemed so depressed, it was hard to function. Between eight and ten percent reported feeling this way within the past 2 weeks.


Two times as many young males, ages 20 through 24, commit suicide, as compared to young women. Within teenagers, ages 17 through 19, this ratio is more skewed, with suicide claiming almost 5 times the amount of young males. Added risk factors involve stressful or traumatic life events; previous suicide attempt; lack of support and sense of isolation; impulsivity problems; substance use problems; unsatisfactory coping skills; and accessibility to suicide methods.


Warning signals involve academic issues, mood swings, depression, feelings of hopelessness, withdrawal, increased substance abuse, disregard for personal appearance, obsession with death and/or increased risk-taking. According to mental health experts in Arizona State University, factors which can be of assistance involve: close personal relationships with staff or faculty, family or friends; healthy habits; resiliency skills, involving adequate diet, sleep, and exercise; and accessible counseling services and health care.


Each college expanded its services of mental health counseling, and depression and suicide awareness programs within recent years. These efforts involve training dormitory assistants – Cornell even has trained its dormitory custodians – to be upon the lookout for struggling students. Plus, on most campuses, they have drastically risen their stress-reduction plans to assist students in managing and reducing stress factors prior to them becoming unbearable.


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What could a parent do? Remain in touch with your child. Freshmen particularly should understand that the family support they’ve relied on throughout childhood is still in existence, even in lengthier distances. Talk by telephone, Skype, or IM. Send out care packages. Occasionally visit. Be a touchstone, as well as a calming voice as things become tough. Don’t undervalue the importance of diet, sleep, de-stressing activities and exercise. Get familiar with the mental health and student health services obtainable on campus, in order for you to remind your teen of the support obtainable on campus. Plus, be sensitive to the signals, as stress might be growing into something else.


5 De-Stressing Tasks


Stressed out over exams, school, or life in general? Those tasks are proven to de-stress any teenager, young adult, or college student – and they’ll work well for adults, as well:


Have Movie Marathon: Cook popcorn and watch a favorite film or host a dormitory film marathon – have a Hitchcock suspense-a-thon, view all 3 ‘Scream’ movies or launch a science fiction fest.


Hit a Gym or Ice Rink: Hit a gym, work out until you sweat and relax in a sauna, hot tub or steam room. Lace up your roller skates or ice skates and go to the rink. Or go on a jog.


Take a Course: It might sound counter-intuitive to take a course when it is school that is making you insane with stress, yet taking a different kind of class – clay, yoga, dance, painting, or music lesson – will stretch your brain in various ways and refresh and energize your spirit.


Re-Read a Book: Read a fantastic book which has nothing to do with college or work – a comedy, thriller, graphic novel, or ‘Harry Potter’ series once again. Or, ‘Harry, a History,’ by Melissa Anelli, about wizard wrock, Potter fandom, and how a Boy-Who-Lived became so trendy. Or, anything about the subject of vampires or zombies will do.


Play Board Game: Collect a team and play ‘Loaded Questions,’ ‘Apples to Apples’ or any an additional board game which makes you laugh.


Six Signs It Might Not Be ‘Only College Stress’


The frantic phone call will come in the wee hours of the night, as college examinations, essays and over-burdened schedules will threaten to smother your young adult. However, when will it be ‘only college stress’ versus something more scary? Plus, as a parent of a young adult, how will you even be able to tell long distance?


‘Stress is not bad,’ states college stress founder of, specialist Maria Pascucci. ‘All of us require a good amount of stress within our lives due to it keeping us challenged and motivated as we attempt new things. However, as stress grows overwhelming and we do not know how we should handle it within healthy ways that is when it begins to interfere with our lives.’


If you believe your young adult’s health might be at risk, urge her to go to her school’s student health center. Universities possess a wide spectrum of counseling services that range from peer support groups to one-to-one, full on psychiatric assistance. It is vital, states Pascucci, to ‘take this shame out of talking about mental health. Have you visited a counselor? Tell your young adult that.’


Pascucci was so over-burdened by stress within her years in college that anxiety-associated clinical problems bothered her into adulthood. Of course, symptoms differ from one person to another, yet those are stress warning signals she states should’ve sent her racing to her student health center.


  • Changes in sleeping patterns: too little or too much sleep
  • Changes in eating habits: too little or too much
  • Becoming upset over nothing or easily crying
  • Constant headaches, stomachaches, skin break outs
  • Frequent anxiety and negative self-thoughts over day-to-day things
  • Withdrawing from loved ones and friends


Pascucci states, ‘Obviously these things are simpler to see if your young adult is still residing with you. If he has a dorm upon campus, you are going to need to work a bit harder to assess his stress levels.

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