Suicide can be prevented. Most people who feel suicidal give definite warning signs, but those close to them are often unaware of these signs or what to do about them. Most suicidal people desperately want to live but are unable to find another way to cope with their thoughts and feelings.
Almost all college students who die by suicide are suffering from an emotional disorder, most commonly depression. Other emotional problems can also increase the risk for suicide including anxiety disorders, bipolar disorder, substance abuse or eating disorders. Identifying and treating these illnesses is especially important because someone with an untreated emotional problem may be more likely to attempt suicide in the wake of a stressful event such as a death, relationship difficulties, or a failed exam.
The most effective way to prevent suicide is to know the warning signs, take those signs seriously, and know how to respond when you experience them yourself or see them in a friend or classmate. The important thing to remember is that there is hope – and effective available treatment – for people who are suicidal.
Common Warning Signs
- Rage, uncontrolled anger, or seeking revenge
- Acting reckless or engaging in risky activities, seemingly without thinking
- Feeling trapped – like there’s no way out
- Increased alcohol or drug use
- Withdrawing from friends, family and society
- Anxiety, agitation, unable to sleep or sleeping all the time
- Dramatic mood changes
- Expressing no reason for living or no sense of purpose in life
If you witness, hear or see anyone exhibiting the signs above, get help IMMEDIATELY by contacting a mental health professional or calling 9-1-1 or The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 (TALK).
Statistics You Must Know
- Suicide is the second leading cause of death among college students.
- Nearly 4,000 people aged 15–24 die by suicide each year in the United States.
- 7% of college students say they’ve seriously considered suicide during the past year.
- 16% of students say that they have a friend who has talked about wanting to end their life in the past year.
Sources used in this article: American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, mtvU AP Economy, College Stress and Mental Health Poll, Suicide.org.
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