(RxWiki News) Going off to college is a major milestone in life, and an exciting time for many young adults. But it can also be a time of difficult adjustment and even despair, that can lead to suicidal thoughts.
Suicide is the second leading cause of death for people between the ages of 14 and 25 in the United States. Knowing the warning signs and the myths about college-age suicide is vital for parents and friends.
"Be aware of suicidal warning signs."
Every 100 minutes, a teenager commits suicide. Maureen Dasey-Morales, psychologist at Wichita State University, says one of the biggest myths about suicide is that asking somebody if they're thinking about hurting themselves will increase the risk of it happening. "In fact, asking is one of the main things somebody can do to prevent suicide from happening," Dasey-Morales counters.
Another myth is that somebody who is thinking about hurting themselves is somehow weak or selfish. In reality, most people who are thinking about hurting themselves feel like others would be better off without them or that somehow there isn't a way out.
Part of helping them is to instill hope; knowing that there are options, and not feeling alone, are two of the most important aspects to preventing suicide attempts.
Dasey-Morales also lists the warning signs for suicidal risk:
- Withdrawal from others and from activities
- Making a plan to hurt oneself
- Increase in use of alcohol or drugs
- Expressing a wish to die or to go away
"Risk factors for college students with suicide can be not having enough supports or not being willing to access their supports, alcohol and drug use, recent impulsivity, previous attempts or plans, as well as recent losses or negative life experiences," she says.
The best thing somebody can do to help prevent suicide is to talk openly about it and not be afraid to ask a loved one about suspicions or problems. "Everybody who struggles with this needs help, and there's no shame in getting that help," Dasey-Morales adds.