A research article by Alan Lipschitz, M.D. noted that suicide is the second leading cause of death among college students-after accidents. Most college students experience a transition from youth to maturity. This transition can produce a very healthy successful life. However, this pivotal time in a young person’s life can also be a time when many factors, such as internal pressures and external expectations to succeed, come into play. The pressure that is felt by college students could be the breaking point in their lives.
Research conducted as part of the 1995 National College Health Risk Behavior Survey found that as many as 10 percent of college students admitted to seriously considering suicide in the year preceding the study. With this many students seriously considering suicide one might think that they would be easy to recognize. However, suicidal students show different behaviors than other non-student suicidal people. Lipschitz states, “College students who commit suicide show different personality traits than non student suicides. Most young adults who commit suicide have impulsive, high risk-taking personalities, and the abuse of drugs and alcohol is frequent in this group. College students, by contrast, are largely depressed, quiet, socially isolated young people who do not abuse alcohol or drugs, and who draw little attention to themselves.” Therefore, the 10 percent who admit to considering suicide, might go unnoticed.
A long-standing myth about suicide is that during the holiday time suicide is at its peak. N. Gregory Hamilton, M.D. confirmed via email, “The idea that holiday time is the peak is a myth. It is really spring.” Hamilton went on to explain, “Of course, depression and suicide can be particularly poignant at this time of year.” Because holidays such as Thanksgiving and Christmas are a time when family and loved ones come together, a suicide in the family or of a close friend at any time of year can be particularly hard during the holidays.
It is important to remember that a suicidal person is not beyond help and that most suicidal people do not want to die, they are simply looking for peace from the heavy load of problems in their life. Information from the University of Buffalo counseling website shows that 75 percent of people who attempt or commit suicide show some sort of warning signs. Here is a list of verbal and behavioral warnings provided by the Oregon State suicide education website as well as the University of Buffalo website.
Verbal Warnings may include: