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February 20, 2018

Suicidal Behavior in College Students

By Dr. Richard Boyum

Listed below are points of consideration regarding college students and suicide.

1) Each year about 1 in 10,000 college students commits suicide.

2) More male students kill themselves than female students. More women than men attempt suicide.

3) There is a difference between intent to commit suicide and suicidal intention. By the time a student graduates from college studies report that one fourth to one third of students have thought of killing themselves.

4) Almost all college students who consider suicide are wanting something in their life to change or be different. They believe they have run out of alternatives. If they can see a new alternative, thoughts of suicide often caese.

5) Depression, alcohol, marijuana, and other drug abuse, sleep related problems, intense stress, or personal loss suach as a breakup or failure in school may be precipitating factors in suicidal attempts. In a small percentage of cases, serious mental illness may be a causitive factor.

6) College students who mention thoughts of suicide should be taken seriously. Friends or family should work to get help as soon as possible. University counseling, health services, Dean of Students, Residence Life/Hall Directors, are all good places to start. It is very important that concnerned others seek out help.

7) Behavioral changes such as stopping going to classes, giving personal objects away, canceling plans, isolation and withdrawal from social activities, and increase in high risk behaviors may be signs of suicidal intent.

8) Self destructive behaviors may be signs of suicidal intent, but may be problems in their own right. These include self motivation, decrease in normal eating behaviors, increased alcohol, marijuana, or other drug use and situational depression. A counselor can help sort these issues out.

9) A high percentage of suicidal attempts in college students seem to them to be logical. But in most cases they are either not rational or impulsive. After the attempt almost all individuals are happy to be alive.

10) Counseling, hospitalization, and medication (when needed) are very effective in moving an individual past a period of suicidal thought ideation. Counseling can help to change ways of thinking and create new behaviors and coping strategies.

Please use these 10 points to consider as a reference on the topic of suicide and college students. For further information, please talk with a counselor.