Suicide now second-leading cause of death among college students

Rachel Saurer

Suicide is currently the second most common cause of death among college students aged 25-34 and third leading cause of death of 15-24-year-olds, according to the American College Health Association.

In fact, the suicide rate 15-24-year-olds has tripled within the last fifty years according to Emory University statistics. The rate of suicide among college students is currently between .5 and 7.5 percent per 100,000 students. According to the statistics, one in ten college students makes a plan for suicide. Also, lifetime thoughts of attempting suicide reportedly occur among five percent of graduate students and 18 percent of undergraduates.

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Colorado currently has one of the highest rates of suicide in the country, according to an article in the Denver Post. Over the past nine years, suicide has affected a greater number of Coloradoans each year. According to data from the Colorado Health Foundation, in 2007, the suicide rate was 16.5 per 100,000 residents. Now, it is increasing with about 19.4 suicides per 100,000 residents.

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Sleeping pills (Julia Trowbridge | Collegian)

An anonymous CSU student wrote in an email to the Collegian that many different things led to the beginning of her struggle with the feelings of depression.

“Tension between my parents and other family members, the stress of trying to complete my school and achieve good grades … all of these played a part in adding to the stress which ended up becoming something more,” she wrote.

She wrote that she had severe feelings of emotional neglect, confusion, lonelieness. She said she has a few friends she is comfortable talking to who have been fighting many of the same struggles.

“Because of this, those friends understand me in a way most others do not fully grasp, especially many of the other people in my life,” she wrote.

She said that it has been especially hard turning to adults with her problems.

“I feel they simply don’t fully understand,” she wrote. “And I don’t expect them to, for they have not been taught about it. Plus, going to an adult is just plain scary most of the time.”

Tom Parks, a therapist at Canaan treatment center, said young adults turn to suicide when they have no hope.

“People will attempt suicide when the pain they are experiencing is unbearable and they believe the problems they are experiencing are unsolvable,” Parks said. “This leaves them with the conclusion or belief that they cannot endure life as it is.”

Parks said the best thing friends or people close to them can do to help is by actively listening and asking good questions.

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“The greatest help or intervention is to interact with them to get them to process their thoughts and feelings,” Parks said.

Parks said lectures will shut the person down because they could percieve it as trying to fix or shame them.

“Connect with them in a caring, listening manner and be there for them,” Parks said. “If you perceive the person is not responding, ask them to seek professional help.”

CSU has a number of mental health resources. Tell Someone is a place for friends of someone who is struggling to turn for confidential help. CSU Health Network Counseling Services is located in 123 Aylesworth Hall and has walk-in hours available on CSU’s Health Network website. Also on the website are many emergency hotlines if suicide is suspected.\

Collegian reporter Rachel Saurer can be reached at news@collegian.com or on Twitter @rachelbethsaurer.