National Data on Campus Suicide and Depression

 

 

Suicide facts and figures

        Suicide is the second-leading cause of death among 20 to 24-year-olds.

        More teenagers and young adults die from suicide than from all medical illnesses combined.

        The suicide rate peaks among young adults (ages 20-24).

        One in 12 U.S. college students makes a suicide plan.

        Nearly 4,000 people age 15-24 die by suicide each year in the United States.

        Every day, approximately 80 Americans take their own life and 1,500 more attempt to do so.

        There are more than four male suicides for every female suicide, but twice as many females than males attempt suicide.

 



Depression facts and figures

        Depression affects more than 19 million American adults 18 and older each year (nearly 10 percent of American adults).

        More than 60 percent of people who die by suicide are estimated to suffer from major depression, with no other psychiatric or physical illness.

        Clinical depression often first appears in adolescence

        About 15 percent of the population develops clinical depression at some time in their lives.

        The vast majority of young adults age 18 and older who are diagnosed with depression do not receive appropriate or any treatment.

        Fewer than half of all Americans consider depression to be a health problem and more than two in five believe it is a sign of personal weakness.

 



Suicide rates of college students

(per 100,000)

 

Age

Women

Men

Total

17-19

1.2

5.7

3.4

20-24

4.5

9.0

7.1

All Students

4.5

10.0

7.5

 

 

 

Information above compiled from the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention and proceedings from an Expert Panel on Vulnerability, Depressive Symptoms and Suicidal Behavior on College Campuses.

 



Some Signs of Depression in Teens

Frequent sadness, tearfulness, crying  

Students may show their pervasive sadness by wearing black clothes, writing poetry with morbid themes, or having a preoccupation with music that has nihilistic themes.  They may cry for no apparent reason.

 

Hopelessness  

Students may feel that life is not worth living or worth the effort to even maintain their appearance or hygiene.  They may believe that a negative situation will never change and be pessimistic about their future.

 

Decreased interest in activities; or inability to enjoy previously favorite activities  

Students may become apathetic and drop out of clubs, sports, and other activities they once enjoyed.  Not much seems fun anymore to the depressed young adult.

 

Persistent boredom; low energy  

Lack of motivation and lowered energy level is reflected by missed classes or not going to school.   A drop in grade averages can be equated with loss of concentration and slowed thinking.

 

Social isolation, poor communication  

There is a lack of connection with friends and family. Students may avoid family gatherings and events. Students who used to spend a lot of time with friends may now spend most of their time alone and without interests. Students may not share their feelings with others, believing that they are alone in the world and no one is listening to them or even cares about them. 

 

Low self esteem and guilt  

Students may assume blame for negative events or circumstances.  They may feel like a failure and have negative views about their competence and self-worth.  They feel as if they are not "good enough."

 

Extreme sensitivity to rejection or failure   

Believing that they are unworthy, depressed students become even more depressed with every supposed rejection or perceived lack of success. 

 

Increased irritability, anger, or hostility  

Depressed students are often irritable, taking out most of their anger on their family.  They may attack others by being critical, sarcastic, or abusive.  They may feel they must reject their family before their family rejects them. 

 

Difficulty with relationships  

Students may suddenly have no interest in maintaining friendships. They'll stop calling and visiting their friends. 

 

Frequent complaints of physical illnesses, such as headaches and stomach aches  

Students may complain about lightheadedness or dizziness, being nauseous, and back pain. Other common complaints include headaches, stomach aches, vomiting, and menstrual problems.

 

 

Frequent absences from school or poor performance in school  

Students who cause trouble at home or at school may actually be depressed but not know it. Because the young adult may not always seem sad, parents and teachers may not realize that the behavior problem is a sign of depression.

 

Poor concentration   

Students may have trouble concentrating on schoolwork, following a conversation, or even watching television. 

 

A major change in eating and/or sleeping patterns  

Sleep disturbance may show up as all-night television watching, difficulty in getting up for school, or sleeping during the day.  Loss of appetite may become anorexia or bulimia.  Eating too much may result in weight gain and obesity.

Talk of or efforts to run away from home  

Running away is usually a cry for help.  This may be the first time the parents realize that their child has a problem and needs help. 

 

Thoughts or expressions of suicide or self-destructive behavior  

Students who are depressed may say they want to be dead or may talk about suicide.  Depressed teens are at increased risk for committing suicide.  If a student says, "I want to kill myself," or "I'm going to commit suicide," always take the statement seriously and make a referral to a campus resource such as the Counseling Office (610 358 4541).  People often feel uncomfortable talking about death.  However, asking whether he or she is depressed or thinking about suicide can be helpful.  Rather than "putting thoughts in the student's head," such a question will provide assurance that somebody cares and will give the young adult the chance to talk about problems. Whatever you do, though, be sure to make the referral.  The people listed above will treat your call with confidentiality whenever possible. Understand that no promise of confidentiality should be made to students when you suspect there is a potential for suicide.

 

Alcohol and Drug Abuse  

Depressed students may abuse alcohol or other drugs as a way to feel better.

 

Self-Injury

Students who have difficulty talking about their feelings may show their emotional tension, physical discomfort, pain and low self-esteem with self-injurious behaviors, such as cutting.

 

What should I do if I'm worried about a member of the Neumann Community?

If you have a concern for a student or other member of the college community, there are resources available to help you. Mike D'Angelo, Counselor (ext. 4541) can guide you to available help. A suicide response team that includes Leon Francis (Director of Campus Safety), Janet Geddis (Director of Health Services) and Terree Stevenson (Director of Residence Life) is also available to assist in urgent situations by calling Campus Safety (ext 5555).

 

The message in this email is to intended to help you recognize behavior that may suggest depression or thoughts of suicide and to make you aware that campus resources are available to help you.  Please feel free to share this email with others as a way of spreading the awareness. Thank you!