High College Suicide Rates Stem From Depression, Isolation: Study

Why is the suicide rate so high among college-age adults?

A recent study on college-age suicide from Johns Hopkins Children's Center, the University of Maryland and other institutions interviewed more than 1,000 students from a mid-Atlantic university throughout their four-year college careers. A team of researchers asked each student in-depth questions about his or her background and thoughts on suicide. While 12 percent of the group admitted they had thought about committing suicide, 10 of them claimed to have planned or attempted suicide during college.

The study's findings suggest that a number of common risk factors may make students more prone to suicidal tendencies. The greatest of these factors is a feeling of being unloved or detached from friends and family. The research pointed to other factors as well, including having symptoms of depression or having a mother with depression, as well as having been abused or having witnessed abuse during childhood.

The thought from researchers is that knowledge of these factors may help colleges check students for suicidal tendencies to help them in advance. While this may be an encroachment on privacy, some think it is the best thing to do. As a report from Johns Hopkins elaborates:

Ideally, all incoming freshmen should be screened for risk factors with a brief questionnaire during their first semester of college and during any subsequent visits to the university health center.

College campuses are ideal for suicide prevention because the students are a captive audience, so universities should take advantage of this by creating easy access to mental health services during this critical period of young adult development," said senior investigator Amelia Arria, Ph.D., an epidemiologist at the University of Maryland Center on Young Adult Health and Development.

What do you think? Why are so many kids prone to suicide in college? Should schools be able to screen for signs of suicidal tendencies, or is this overdoing it? Join the discussion below.

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