By Darcy Gruttadaro
At William and Mary, there have been four. At the University of Pennsylvania, there have been four. And there have been four at Tulane University. And there has been one at Yale. And there have been three at George Washington University.
But those are not just numbers, they are young lives recently lost to suicide—college students who should be launching into the prime of their lives but instead are gone. They were our sisters, brothers, children, friends, neighbors and the future generation of our nation.
Suicide is happening too often on college campuses. It is unthinkable that suicide is the second leading cause of death in U.S. college students and a high percentage of students who die by suicide have a mental health condition. Clearly they are not getting the help they need. We need a strong community response to address this public health crisis. Effective strategies are needed to make it OK for students to come forward to seek help. No one strategy will work in every case, but colleges and universities must find the right mix of action steps to stem the tide of campus suicides. Enough is enough.
We can all help by asking colleges we attended, that our children or family members attend or that are in our communities—what they are doing to help prevent campus suicides.
Here are 10 practical steps that colleges can use as a starting point:
Student suicides are plain and simply tragedies that seriously unsettle and disrupt the rhythm of life on college campuses and beyond. We owe it to youth and young adults to be proactive in ending these tragedies.
NAMI is doing its part by supporting college students in creating NAMI on Campus clubs and providing them with high impact resources and information to make a positive difference. For example our Raising Mental Health Awareness presentation can be presented by students or other campus leaders to get schools talking about mental health. Download the presentation to get started! Please join us so that together we can save more young lives.
We’re always accepting submissions to the NAMI Blog! We feature the latest research, stories of recovery, ways to end stigma and strategies for living well with mental illness. Most importantly: We feature your voices.
Check out our Submission Guidelines for more information.
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