Suicide: the ever-taboo subject in society. Nobody wants to admit its prevalence. As a kid, all my schools had suicide prevention/awareness weeks, and I didn’t understand why at first. However, once I became a stressed-out college student that battled gastritis and GERD, I finally understood. There comes a time when life doesn’t feel worth it, depending on one’s circumstances. Whether that’s physical or mental illness, a relationship problem, stress, family issues, or something else, suicide becomes a way of escaping the physical and emotional pain.
I never thought I’d come to the point where I’d want to give up my own life, yet I found myself walking that fine line in March 2017, a year ago from now. My gastritis pain was at its worst, I almost dropped out of school, I was 93 pounds, I could barely eat anything, I had panic attacks every other day, dealt with depression, and couldn’t handle my workload because I was burned-out. I never saw my friends either because I holed up in my room or felt ashamed at the idea of them finding out about all my issues.
As a result, I didn’t want to live anymore. I wasn’t brave enough to attempt any self-harm, but I became severely depressed, called my parents, and told them I didn’t want to live anymore. I was done. This is what NIMH considers “Suicidal ideation,” which can include general thoughts to actual plans. Everything felt so hopeless and I became sicker and sicker each day.
Here’s the unfortunate reality of suicide. About 123 suicides occur each day. The suicide for young adults has tripled since the 1950s and 1,100 suicides occur at colleges each year, according to College Degree Search. Mental illnesses have risen significantly among college students within the past few years, NBC reports. According to SPRC, 6.6-7.5 percent of undergrads seriously considered suicide. It’s the second leading cause of death for peopled aged 15-24, Mental Health America.
The AADA provides a wonderful infographic about the warning signs of suicide, do’s and dont’s, and where to seek help.
Although suicide can result from various life circumstances, I believe anxiety and depression have become major causes for college students specifically. Due to things not working out as planned, major life transitions, or crazy courseloads, college students have developed mental illnesses that can often result in suicide. I personally traced my suicidal thoughts back to severe depression.
The APA reports that 48.7 percent of college students in 2012-2013 attended counseling for mental health concerns. That’s almost HALF of college students. On that note, 32.9 percent took medications for a mental health condition and 10.3 percent were hospitalized. 30.3 percent considered attempting suicide and 8.8 actually made an attempt. That’s one-third of college students with suicidal thoughts. In a class of 30 people, that’s 10 students whose seats could become empty within a couple days.
Why have mental illnesses increased so drastically?
These are some reasons.
I promise life is worth living, even when you feel like it’s not. It may surprise you that others do care about you and will support you. We’re often our own worst critics, so make sure you talk to a friend or close family member,––or even seek counseling, if you are comfortable––if you have suicidal thoughts, regardless of the cause.
If you feel the desire to take your own life and need help, please look at the following resources:
- National suicide prevention hotline
- Suicide prevention myths/facts from Best Colleges
- Suicide Prevention Resource Center
- American Foundation for Suicide Prevention
- To Write Love on Her Arms
- National Institute of Mental Health
- Suicide and Mental Health Services Administration