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Student suicide rates indicate a crisis

A recent program on CTV W5 took a look at rising suicide rates among University students.

The show reported that students are generally younger, overwhelmed, have huge debt loads, intense competition for jobs and that they are “terrified of failure”. Furthermore, stigma and shame continues to prevent young people from reaching out and getting help for mental health issues.

A national study was conducted in 2013 that surveyed 34 colleges and universities. The study reported that 90% of students felt overwhelmed by university life at times. One in ten students said that they had seriously considered ending their own lives.

CTV noted - “There’s a crisis”.

Universities in the US, Canada and even Europe indicate an increasing number of students with mental health issues. In Canada, suicide is the leading cause of death for young people.

But all hope is not lost.

Students can start talking about suicide and mental illness and the stigma that makes it so hard to get help. For example, this past March, Unleash the Noise, a student mental health innovation summit, brought 200 students from across Canada together to talk about and change how we think about our mental health.

Colleges and universities are becoming aware of the growing need for mental health services and they are increasingly presenting information about mental health awareness during Frosh or Orientation week.  The Jack Project is one organization that participates in Frosh week activities and aims to get students thinking and talking about mental health and reaching out for help.

Some colleges and universities have even implemented mindyourmind’s online mental health portal, iCopeU, a customizable portal that offers access to reliable information, stress management and safety planning tools for students who are feeling overwhelmed.

With the internet becoming the medium of choice for mental health information and the first point of entry into services for many youth and emerging adults, it is important that colleges and universities provide reliable online information like that offered by iCopeU.

If you or someone you know are in crisis and at risk of committing suicide, don’t wait to get help. Reach out immediately! Call 911, go to the hospital, call a crisis line, talk to a friend, a teacher, a parent, a guidance counsellor – anyone! Visit the mindyourmind help section for more information about getting help.

Reach out, get help, give help.