Survey: 1 in 5 college students has considered suicide

Local News

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah (News4Utah) – A recent national survey shows that as many as one in every five college students has considered suicide. Researchers in Utah say the numbers in our state are lower but still a cause for concern.

Michael Friedrichs, with the Utah Department of Health did not participate in the survey which states one in five college students has considered suicide, but he spoke with News4Utah’s Brittany Johnson about the topic.

He says during their latest phone survey conducted in 2016, 3.42 percent of Utahns who identified as adult students, reported that they would be “better off dead” or “harming themselves”. 

“Every suicide is different,” said Friedrichs. “What we’ve found is there is no one thing out there that contributes to suicides. For one population it’s one thing, for another population it’s another thing. The overall theme is loss of connection.”

While there is no one thing that contributes to suicides, doctors say that during young adulthood, our brains are still developing and we aren’t always equipped with the ability to handle stressors effectively when they begin to pile up. 

According to Doctor Scott Bea with the Cleveland Clinic, during an acute crisis, people can often act on an impulse, and because young adults and teens tend to be more impulsive, they might now always think to reach out for help before acting. 

He says some people are self-aware and can recognize when they’re not feeling right, but sometimes, it takes a friend or family member to recognize it first.

Feeling fatigued, withdrawing from social activities, feeling like sleeping all of the time, constant worry and feeling frightened of the future are all signs that someone is struggling.

“Asking  about  their  well-being  and  how  they’re  adjusting  to  the  emotional  of  being  away;  to  the  emotion  of  college  and  the  demand  on  them  is  really  smart.  Even  as  a  parent,  knowing  where  those  resources  exist  within  the  university  system  so  they  can  plug  into  that  system  or  even  external  resources  –  therapists,  psychiatrists,  psychologists  –  outside  in  that  vicinity  that  might  be  useful  for  them,” said Bea.

If you or someone you know is experiencing suicidal thoughts, call 1-800-283-8255. That’s the number to the National Suicide Prevention Hotline. Someone is available 24 hours everyday.

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