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09-15 Intro to dorm life 101 part 6: School-related factors leading to suicide rates

Intro to dorm life 101 part 6: School-related factors leading to suicide rates

Unfortunately, suicide is the third leading cause of death for people between the ages of 10 and 24. More specifically, recent surveys have assessed the climate of suicidal ideations and its related factors on college campuses. Drawing from multiple nationwide studies, a 2013 National College Health Assessment summary from the American College Health Association (ACHA) published a number of important findings, including:

  • 84 percent of U.S. students reported feeling overwhelmed by their school work at some point in the past 12 months.
  • 7 percent of students seriously considered suicide.
  • 5 percent of students reported actually attempting suicide.

In a similar report from the National Survey of College Counseling Centers in 2013, college and university counseling directors were questioned about the prevalence of suicidal behavior and its influences at their schools. Results showed that:

  • There were a total of 69 student fatalities by suicide in the past year.
  • 21 percent of these deaths were committed by current or former counseling center clients.
  • 17 percent were prescribed and taking psychiatric medication.
  • According to patient specific data, 48 percent of the students experienced depressive symptoms, 27 percent were going through relationship problems, 16 percent struggled academically and 6 percent had troubles with finances.

From this collected and compiled data, two of the most significant factors for these considerable trends appear to be school-related stress and depression. For the former problem, colleges like Penn State have developed new initiatives to combat excess and unaddressed feelings of stress, such as their Task Force on Student Psychological Health and Welfare. The task force was established after two of the school’s freshmen committed suicide in the span of three weeks. Outspoken students like Chloe Bower, editor of the school’s weekly magazine, “34th Street,” expressed that the culture of Penn State is also to blame, citing how many of her classmates boast about how busy they are and how little they sleep.

For the issue of depression, it was the 2008 study, “Depression, desperation, and suicidal ideation in college students,” from the Emory University School of Medicine in Atlanta, Georgia that linked commiting suicide with depressive symptoms. Furthermore, the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) found that 30 percent of college students reported feeling “so depressed that it was difficult to function” at some point during 2011. For both anxiety and depression, students also reported a lack of available or accessible care as a big reason for why their peers may have turned to suicide. Many previous studies and survey reports have suggested an increase in mental health screenings and the cooperation between schools, families and overall communities to support teens and young adults in such high-stress environments.

When psychological impairments extend beyond the care available at your adolescent’s school or your own, Sovereign Health Rancho San Diego offers teens mental health, substance abuse and dual diagnosis treatment services to ensure they get the needed education they all deserve. Call 866-577-3633 to speak with a health care representative.

Written by Lee Yates, Sovereign Health Group writer

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