Suicide steadily increases among young, leading death cause for college students

Posted December 16, 2015


Suicide is the leading cause of death among college students and the most prevalent issue on college campuses. In fact, suicide rates have steadily increased for those ages 15-24 since the year 1950 by a heartbreaking 200 percent.

Dr. Rene Monteagudo, director of the University of Miami Counseling Center, said it is a problem that needs attention.

“There is an apparent need to address the epidemic of suicide, as the issue continues to plague universities across the United States,” Monteagudo stated.

Stress and depression are two of the leading causes of suicide.

The statistics of suicide are clear, but what is being done to address the issue? How are we making progressive steps towards addressing the issue of suicide and preventing it entirely?

The University of Miami, which offers counseling to faculty, has recently implemented a 24/7 Crisis Hotline Service, which is a service designed to aid students who have thoughts of suicide, homicide or need someone to which to talk.

“The Counseling Center has partnered with ProtoCall Services. They are the leading standard in providing after-hours crisis line support to many university-counseling centers,” said Monteagudo. “They have partnered with over 100 universities and cover nearly two million students. Locally, they have partnerships with Florida International University and Florida Atlantic University. The counselors are licensed mental health professionals and supervised by a licensed mental health professionals.”

The top five most stressful universities also offer counseling services to students.

Northwestern University offers a program called CAPS.

“ CAPS (Counseling and Psychological Services) serves as the primary mental health service at Northwestern University and provides a set of core services, including clinical services, educational workshops, and consultation with faculty, staff, and parents,” according to Dr. John H. Dunkle, executive director of the Counseling and Psychological Services at Northwestern University.

During an emergency, Northwestern University encourages students to call during the Crisis Counselor Hours and the After-Hours Emergency Hotline 847-491-2151, where students have access to CAPS counselors who are available by phone 24 hours a day, year round.

“Northwestern CAPS believe in creating an atmosphere of openness, trust, respect and safety where diverse attitudes, beliefs, values and behaviors can be explored and discussed,” said Dunkle.

At Harvard University, Students receive comprehensive outpatient care for a variety of concerns, including anxiety, depression, stress, crisis management, transitional issues, grief, and eating, sexual, or relationship concerns,

Students can make an appointment to speak to a clinician through their student portal for individual counseling, group counseling, cognitive-behavioral therapy, medication evaluation and management, and evaluation for full or partial hospitalizations.

At Columbia University, Counseling and Psychological Services takes a flexible, individualized approach to addressing each student’s needs. What works for one student may be inappropriate for another.

For example, while many students’ needs can be met through individual counseling at our campus center, other students are best served through one of our many groups.

Columbia also offers After Hours services to address students who need help.

The University of Pennsylvania’s CAPS program is nearly identical to the Northwestern University’s CAPS program.

CAPS offers confidential free professional mental health services to undergraduate, graduate, and professional students at Penn. Our goal is to assist students in their adjustment to university life and help them take full advantage of the academic and social environment at Penn.

Students can learn to manage personal problems and situational crises effectively, learn strategies to cope with academic stress, and develop self awareness, personal responsibility, and skills for life-long learning,

Washington University in St Louis offers minimal services to address the suicide epidemic. One of those services is group counseling.

“Typically consists of six to 10 people and one or more trained group therapists. The group provides a safe and challenging place to work on personal and interpersonal concerns. Group is confidential, and what is talked about or disclosed in the group is not discussed outside the group. For these and other reasons, groups are often as or more effective and efficient than individual work,” said a representative of Washington University in St Louis.

Jesselynn Taylor, a registered nurse, psychology expert, nursing manager, and former student of Washington University in St Louis, said counseling can help.

“I think group counseling can be effective, sometimes when we’re together we have a common understanding of what we feel, and sometimes those things can’t be felt by other people outside of the group,” she stated.

Colleges are addressing the issue of suicide and suicide prevention has progressed considerably as the epidemic of suicide continues.