Suicide Awareness In College | Recognize The Warning Signs!

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Suicide amongst teens and college students is a very real thing and is not something that should be swept under the rug.  This week’s article from Sarah deals with a touchy subject: Suicide Awareness.  As you read this article, keep in mind that no matter what high school or college you are attending, there are professionals available to help you deal with any feelings of doubt, hopelessness, depression or if you are simply feeling overwhelmed with life.suicide awareness

Suicide Awareness In College

As a college student, it’s easy to engulf yourself in doubt, worry, and the consuming despair. With tests and papers piling up, it’s hard to keep everything organized while still holding a positive attitude. With so much doubt and academic competition circulating, suicide is a common thought for many college students.

College Student Suicide Statistics

According to a study by psychology Professor Jeffery Klibert from Nonwestern State University Louisiana, each year approximately 24% of college students seriously consider suicide and 5% admit to attempting suicide. These statistics culminate to suicide being the third cause of death for people between the ages of 18-24.[1]

Death may seem like the easy escape and the only option, but depression can blacken the truth, no matter how hard things get, life will get better. Students tend to focus on the here and now. I failed a test, I did poorly in a class, my boy/girlfriend broke up with me, etc. Sometimes life seems bent on destroying your livelihood and wellbeing, but always remember that you are not alone.

If You Think You’re Alone, Think Again

Suicide awareness starts with recognizing if you, or someone you know needs help.  There are literally thousands of students toying with doubt and despair. One class, one grade, one person is not your entire life. In a few years, what seemed like the end of the world will be a smudge of a memory, only remembered in sporadic moments of nostalgia. College will quickly come and go, and while it’s good to concern yourself with good grades and hard work; it is not worth ending your life. Embrace every moment, work hard, but most importantly learn.

School is not meant to destroy your life, it’s definitely not meant to categorize you by your GPA and who you date; school is meant for learning. The system of learning can be competitive, intimidating, and stressful, but that’s the purpose. You’re supposed to work hard for your grades and reap the benefits. Sometimes the benefits are not as conducive to the time and effort you put in, but as long as you’re learning that’s all that matters.

Dealing With Loss

The loss of a loved one is inevitable. There are words to describe, but none actually conveys the pain that swelters under the surface, waiting to rise with the slightest memory a picture, touch, something as simple as a Coke can. There is always something that brings slight joy followed by an ever present despair. With time, the joy of remembrance becomes a comfort, but the sorrow still lingers quick behind; it’s inescapable and comforting at the same time. A year ago, on May 3, 2011, an old friend of mine committed suicide. When I was told about his death, it was and still is the worst moment of my life. I was shocked, as I think all of those who knew him were; I had no idea he was having problems.

I do not pretend to know why he ended his life, but I do know how hard life can be; I understand that point of despair where nothing matters. Life can be overwhelmingly stressful and yet void of meaning. Constantly studying and still receiving a bad grade can make the smartest of students feel inadequate. Whether you’ve had your life planned since you were five or your twenty-one and still don’t know what to do with your life, your future is still full of possibilities.   

Even a year after his death, I still think of him and wonder what problems engulfed his life to think that ending was better than continuing. I believe he is happier now, but I also know that his family and friends still miss him more than anything in the world.

Help Is All Around You

If you ever have a problem either school related or not, please talk to someone. People may seem too busy to care, but if you ask, you’ll find many people willing to lend a hand. Talk to family and friends about your problems; they can give you helpful advice and/or just comfort you. Your classmates and friends will be in the same situation as you, and are great for comforting. Having a girls’ night with chick flicks and chocolate or a guys’ night watching sports and joking around can really help.

Even if you think you’re really busy, taking a night off might be the fix you need. Otherwise, talk to you family. They have been there for you since day one and they want to help you. If you are uncomfortable with talking to someone you know about your problems, there are many hotlines that will be able to help you. It’s very important to discuss your problems; hiding away will only make them seem worse.

There is always someone to love you, take care of you, and understand your troubles. Life is too precious to be taken away so quickly. If there’s someone you know that seems to have problems, please talk to them. Sometimes they don’t show signs like you may think, but be open with your friends and always be there for them, and hopefully we can decrease those statistics. Just remember, suicide awareness starts with you…and you are not alone.

[1]Kliber, Jeffrey, Jennifer Langhinrichsen-Rohling, Amy Luna, and Michelle Robichaux. 2011. “Suicide Proneness in College Students: Relationships with Gender, Procratinantion, and Achievement Motivation.” Death Studies 35, no. 7: 625-645. Academic Search Premier, EBSCO host (accessed April 28, 2012).

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