Blog 3 in a series of 4 | Read complete series
“Things have a price and can be for sale, but people have a dignity that is priceless and worth far more than things.” Pope Francis
Transitioning from high school to college can be exciting and overwhelming. No two students have the same experience, but it is certainly a time of big changes. Adapting to a brand new environment can be tricky, and coursework can be extremely challenging for some students. It is important that we make ourselves aware that college students are faced with immense amounts of stress, and have been said to be in the midst of a mental health crisis. The statistics show us that more and more college students are seeking counseling services on campus. In the Center for Collegiate Mental Health 2017 report, data shows that the top 2 reasons why college students are seeking counseling are due to anxiety and depression. These numbers have only continued to increase year-over-year.
The connection between depression/anxiety disorders and suicide is no surprise to us at this point, and college students are greatly affected by this parallel. In the Center for Collegiate Mental Health 2017 report, 12.4% of students surveyed responded that they had seriously considered committing suicide 2-3 times. Among that startling number of attempts, approximately 1,100 college students die by suicide each year. We cannot ignore these numbers. In our mission to respect all life, we must make ourselves aware of how we can help put an end to these tragic losses of young people.
First, we need to know the risk factors associated with college students. Risk factors include:
- Mental disorders, particularly mood disorders, schizophrenia, anxiety disorders, and certain personality disorders
- Lack of social support and sense of isolation
- Loss of relationship(s)
- Stigma associated with asking for help
- History of trauma/abuse
We also have to make ourselves aware of warning signs. Should a friend, classmate, roommate or loved one be expressing these warning signs, seek appropriate help:
- Increasing the use of alcohol or drugs
- Acting anxious or agitated; behaving recklessly
- Sleeping too little or too much
- Withdrawing or isolating themselves
- Expressing suicidal thoughts or feelings
There are many on-campus services available to those who are struggling with feelings of anxiety, depression, or feeling stressed and overwhelmed. Counseling centers a great resource to take advantage of should you or a friend need to talk to someone.
College is a time of great changes and new experiences. Despite all of the excitement which college promises, it can be a very difficult experience for some students who are struggling with depression, anxiety, or other mental health complications.
We are called to stand by and support those who need our help. In our mission to protect all life, it is our duty to look out for our friends, family, and ourselves. By raising awareness among college students of just how much they are affected by suicide, and encouraging those who need help to seek it out, we are promoting a culture of life.
If you are in need of immediate help, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline
at 1-800-273-TALK (1-800-273-8255)