College Students and Suicide
It is estimated that there are more than 1,000 suicides that occur on college campuses each year. Suicide is the second leading cause of death for youth age 15-24 in the United States and in South Dakota. Some of the identified risk factors for suicide in college students include mental health conditions, especially depression, along with hopelessness and stress. Some students struggle with the transition to the college environment, and can experience academic or social pressures, feelings of failure or alienation, and some lack adequate coping skills needed to be successful in college.
The Suicide Prevention Resource Center has created the College and University webpages. These pages are designed for campus professionals – administrators, counseling and health center staff, and others- interested in moving campus suicide prevention work forward. You will find tips on getting started, access to helpful data, resources and research regarding suicide prevention at colleges and universities. A few highlights include the following resources that were recently released:
SAMHSA’s Campus Suicide Prevention grant program helps to fund services to many colleges and universities. Programs funded include efforts to provide enhanced mental health services, gatekeeper trainings and other awareness programming, stress reduction, and help to bring attention to the issues of suicide, depression and substance use disorders. Click this link to view information about SAMHSA’s efforts and resources.
- Active Minds is a program founded by Alison Malmon when she was a junior at the University of Pennsylvania, following the suicide of her older brother, Brian. Brian, also a college student, had been experiencing depression and psychosis for three years but had concealed his symptoms from everyone around him. Recognizing that few Penn students were talking about mental health issues though many were affected, Alison was motivated to change that culture on her campus. Alison created her own model and formed what was then known as Open Minds. In 2003, the non-profit organization, and all of the affiliated campus chapters, was renamed Active Minds, Inc. In just over nine years, the non-profit organization has grown into a well recognized entity in the field, respected as the voice of student mental health advocacy. With over 350 campus chapters, hundreds of thousands of young adults all across the country are benefiting from the Active Minds model.
- The Jed Foundation is working to promote emotional health and prevent suicide among college students. A national leader in the development and implementation of holistic, community based approaches for mental health promotion and suicide prevention, The Jed Foundation’s programs include: ULifeline, an online resource that gives students access to campus-specific resources and allows them to take an anonymous emotional health screening; the Peabody Award-winning Half of Us campaign with mtvU, which uses online, on-air and on campus programming to decrease stigma around mental illness and encourage help-seeking; Love is Louder, a movement online and in communities to build connectedness and increase resiliency; and a portfolio of nationally-recognized tools, resources and training programs that help campuses effectively promote mental health and protect at-risk students.