According to the ACHA (American College Health Association), the suicide rate amongst young adults, ages fifteen to twenty-four, tripled since the 50s, and suicide is presently the 2nd most common cause of fatalities amongst college students.
Those young people often are away from friends and home for the very first time. They are residing with strangers, far away from support systems, and working underneath pressure – with disrupted eating, sleeping, and exercise patterns.
You can hardly produce a more stressful environment, especially as depression or additional mental health problems come into the picture. Here is a snapshot of the statistics on college suicides and teenage suicide attempts and what a few colleges are doing to assist.
Specialists estimate 10,888 suicides happen at colleges each year – which is around 7.5 per 100,000 students. One in twelve college students have made a suicide preparation at some point, and 1.5 of every 100 has tried it, according to a 2002 ACHA report.
Of course, numbers differ on various campuses. For example, Arizona State University estimates that eleven per cent of its students thought about suicide, and one per cent tried it within 2006.
Teenagers who have mental health illnesses involving depression will be most at risk. According to the ACHA, the majority of eighteen-year-olds who have depression have never been treated.
Within a 2008 ACHA report, 25.6 per cent of male students and 31.7 per cent of female college students reported that upon a minimum of a single occasion within the past year, they’d seemed so depressed, it was hard to function. Between eight and ten per cent reported feeling this way within the past 2 weeks.
Two times as many young males, ages 20 through 24, commit suicide compared to young women. Within teenagers, ages 17 through 19, this ratio is more skewed, with suicide claiming almost 5 times the amount of young males. Added risk factors involve:
-Stressful or traumatic life events.
-Previous suicide attempt.
-Lack of support and sense of isolation.
-Substance use problems.
-Unsatisfactory coping skills.
-Accessibility to suicide methods.
Warning signals involve academic issues, mood swings, depression, feelings of hopelessness, withdrawal, increased substance abuse, disregard for personal appearance, obsession with death and/or increased risk-taking. According to mental health experts in Arizona State University, factors that can be of assistance involve: close personal relationships with staff or faculty, family or friends; healthy habits; resiliency skills, involving adequate diet, sleep, and exercise; and accessible counselling services and health care.
Each college expanded its services of mental health counselling and depression and suicide awareness programs within recent years. These efforts involve training dormitory assistants – Cornell even has trained its dormitory custodians – to be upon the lookout for struggling students. Plus, on most campuses, they have drastically risen their stress-reduction plans to assist students in managing and reducing stress factors before becoming unbearable.
What could a parent do?
Remain in touch with your child. Freshmen particularly should understand that the family support they’ve relied on throughout childhood is still in existence, even at lengthier distances.
Talk by telephone, Skype, or IM. Send out care packages.
Be a touchstone, as well as a calming voice as things become challenging. Don’t undervalue the importance of diet, sleep, de-stressing activities and exercise.
Get familiar with the mental health and student health services obtainable on campus for you to remind your teen of the support available on campus. Plus, be sensitive to the signals, as stress might be growing into something else.
5 De-Stressing Tasks
Stressed out over exams, school, or life in general? Those tasks are proven to de-stress any teenager, young adult, or college student – and they’ll work well for adults, as well:
Have Movie Marathon: Cook popcorn and watch a favourite film or host a dormitory film marathon.
Hit a Gym or Ice Rink: Hit a gym, work out until you sweat and relax in a spa. Lace-up your roller skates or ice skates and go to the rink. Or go on a jog.
Take a Course: It might sound counter-intuitive to take a course when it is the school that is making you insane with stress, yet taking a different kind of class – clay, yoga, dance, painting, or music lesson – will stretch your brain in various ways and refresh and energise your spirit.
Re-Read a Book: Read a fantastic book that has nothing to do with college or work – a comedy, thriller, graphic novel, or Harry Potter series once again. Or, ‘Harry, a History,’ by Melissa Anelli, about wizard wrock, Potter fandom, and how a Boy-Who-Lived became so trendy. Or, anything about the subject of vampires or zombies will do.
Play Board Games: Collect a team and play ‘Loaded Questions,’ ‘Apples to Apples’ or any other board game which makes you laugh.
Six Signs It Might Not Be ‘Only College Stress’
The frantic phone call will come in the wee hours of the night, as college examinations, essays, and over-burdened schedules will threaten to smother your young adult. However, when will it be ‘only college stress’ versus something scarier? Plus, as a parent of a young adult, how will you even tell long distance?
‘Stress is not bad,’ states college stress founder of CampusCalm.com, specialist Maria Pascucci. ‘All of us require a good amount of stress within our lives due to it keeping us challenged and motivated as we attempt new things. However, as stress grows overwhelming and we do not know how we should handle it in healthy ways, that is when it begins to interfere with our lives.’
If you believe your young adult’s health might be at risk, urge her to go to her school’s student health centre. Universities possess a broad spectrum of counselling services that range from peer support groups to one-to-one, complete psychiatric assistance.
It is vital, states Pascucci, to ‘take this shame out of talking about mental health. Have you visited a counsellor? Tell your young adult that.’
Pascucci was so overburdened by stress within her years in college that anxiety-associated clinical problems bothered her into adulthood. Of course, symptoms differ from one person to another, yet those are stress warning signals she states should’ve sent her racing to her student health centre.
- Changes in sleeping patterns: too little or too much sleep
- Changes in eating habits: too little or too much
- Becoming upset over nothing or easily crying
- Constant headaches, stomachaches, skin breakouts
- Frequent anxiety and hostile self-thoughts over day-to-day things
- Withdrawing from loved ones and friends
Pascucci states, Obviously, these things are simpler to see if your young adult is still residing with you. If he has a dorm upon campus, you will need to work a bit harder to assess his stress levels.