Suicide in College Students


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Suicide has become the 2nd leading cause of death in young adults age 18-25. I chose this topic of controversy in higher education because it calls for an increase in funding for mental health preventative and intervention programs.

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  • Helloeveryone,Mynameis Katherine Valera. I am in theHigherEducationAdministrationconcentration and today I will be presentingtoyouthecontroversy of mychoicewhichis Suicide in Collegestudents. I chosethiscontroversybecause mental healthissues are rarelydiscussedoncollegecampuses. Weallknowthatcollegeyears are perhapsthemoststressfulyears in one’sadolescentlife and so mental healthisjust as important as physical and emotional.
  • Depression and suicide ideation are topics that should be introduced and discussed as soon as college students enter campus. Suicide has become rom 3rd to the 2nd leading cause of death among young adults in their college years. Young adults diagnosed with depression are 5 times as likely to attempt or commit suicide than older adults over the age of 25. 44% of American college students report having symptoms of depression. In spring of 2000, the American College Health Association (ACHA) conducted a National College Health Assessment (NCHA) where among the measured items were depression, suicidal ideation, and suicide attempts among 15,977 college students on 28 campuses (Suicide Prevention Resource Center (SPRC), 2004, p. 8) ACHA argues that “undiscovered, unaddressed, and unmet mental and behavioral health problems can interfere with academic success as surely as a lack of computers, competent staff, or textbooks” (Suicide Prevention Resource Center (SPRC), p. 27).
  • Depression can signal many mental illnesses and so depression and suicide should be taken very serious. Analysis data from the National College Health Risk Survey of 1995 found that students who reported thoughts of suicide were more likely than other students to make poor decisions like carrying a weapon, fighting, swimming after drinking alcohol, riding with an inebriated driver or they themselves drive under the influence of alcohol or drugs (Barrios, Everett, Simon, & Brener, 2000).
  • There are many factors that contribute to suicidal behavior. The leading causes are mental illnesses, depression, academic and social stressors, and socio-economic factors (Haas, A., Hendin, H., & Mann, J. (2003). Significantly higher levels of test anxiety, lower academic self-efficacy, and feelings of homesickness are common among college students which lead to suicidal behavior. (SPRC, 2004). The combination of depression and feelings of hopelessness is what leads college students to suicide ideation, suicide attempts, and in more fatal cases, suicide completion.
  • Suicide is defined as the intentional taking of one’s life, or intentionally killing oneself. It is the 10th leading cause of death in the U.S and in 2010, suicide was ranked the 2nd leading cause of death among college students and young adults ages 18-24. On average 1 person every 2 hours commits suicide. (American Foundation for Suicide Prevention). The leading factors of suicide include depression, suicidal history or feelings of hopelessness; alcohol and drug abuse; relationships; academic pressures and low self-efficacy; social media & internet. (Schicker, 2001).
  • Ponzetti examines personality attributes, familial background variables, mal-adaptive cognitive characteristics, interpersonal behaviors, and lack of social networks that contribute to detrimental sentiments in college students (Ponzetti, 1990). Loneliness reflects a personal deficit that exists in disparities between relationships and expectations. Increases in these discrepencies lead to hopelessness, low self-esteem, anxiety, and negative evaluations of oneself.
  • Stigma – 75% of college students do not seek help for mental health problems.“Given the social stigma that has been associated with depression, mental illness and suicide, many students are reluctant to seek or even admit that they have a problem. The perceived level of potential embarrassment and shame is often too overwhelming” (Watson, 2013).
  • The Semicolon Project;
  • References -
  • Suicide in College Students

    1. 1. Katherine Valera Education 6050: Education as an Advanced Field of Study December 5, 2013 Northeastern University
    2. 2. Why is this issue important?  Suicide is the 2nd leading cause of death in college students
    3. 3. Statistics One of every four college students suffers from a form of mental illness, including depression (Kerr, 2012).
    4. 4. Symptoms of Depression  The reasons vary, some include: ◦ Intrusive thoughts, relationships turn sour, feelings of hopelessness etc. ( Watson,, 2010). ◦ Academic and social stresses, mental illnesses (forefront), personal conflicts, and socio-economic factors. (Haas, et al. 2003)
    5. 5. Leading Causes of Suicide Depress ion, Suic idal History, Hopeles sness
    6. 6. 80% of college students who either contemplate or attempt suicide show clear warning signs (Watson, 2013).
    7. 7. Undiagnosed Risks Other risk and often undiagnosed factors include: substance abuse;  a family history of depression and mental illness;  a prior suicide attempt;  access to guns;  exposure to other students who have committed suicide;  self-harming behaviors, such as burning or cutting. 
    8. 8. The Semicolon Project; Photo Credit: Semicolon Project, 416, 6141325379&type=1&theater
    9. 9. References: American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, Facts and Figures: Suicide Deaths, Barrios, L., Everett, S., Simon, T., & Brener, N. (2000). National College Health Assessment: Aggregate report, spring 2000. Baltimore: Author. Haas, A., Hendin, H., & Mann, J. (2003). Suicide in College Students. American Behavioral Scientist, 46(9), 1224. Northeastern University, University Health and Counseling Services, Schicker, Melanie A.. Lindenwood University, ProQuest, UMI Dissertations Publishing, 2011. 3478111. Suicide Prevention Resource Center. (2004). Promoting mental health and preventing suicide in college and university settings. Newton, MA: Education Development Center, Inc. Watson, Elwood, Dr. (16 May 2013). Depression, Mental Illness and Suicide Among College Students A Harsh Reality, Diverse Issues In Higher Education, Retrieved: 3 October 2013.