College campuses need to raise awareness on suicide

Suicide is the second leading cause of death in college students.

Colleges need to do more to raise awareness about student depression and suicide. For every two murders in the U.S., three people have killed themselves according to a News Discovery article.

Students face many challenges while attending college. Some students struggle with academic or social pressures, feelings of failure or alienation, and lack of adequate coping skills to be successful.

“These little things can all add to the general stress of college,” said Mike Ricci, Eagle News managing editor.

All of this stress can lead to severe depression. It can compound and have negative results unless students realize it and seek help. Some students even come to a place that they feel the only way to escape the pain is death.

The American College Health Association’s National College Health Assessment finds that 60.5 percent of students “felt very sad”, and 30.3 percent say they “felt so depressed that it was difficult to function” at least once in the prior 12 months. This depression can lead to suicide.

According to the Suicide Prevention Resource Center, South Dakota’s suicide rate is seventh highest for youth and young adults ages 15 to 24. The suicide rate is double the national rate. states 75 percent who die by suicide exhibit some suicide warning signs. Warning signs include academic problems, depression, withdrawal, hopelessness, disregard for personal appearance, and increased substance use. A complete list can be found on

Black Hills State University felt the effects of student suicide in 2012. It still seems the seriousness of suicide is not being addressed. BH News and Events has an article about a campus suicide prevention program, but that was in November 2010. When a student walks into the student counseling center you will not find pamphlets on depression or suicide.

Students need to be aware of the options available if they are depressed or thinking about suicide. No one has to go through this alone. BHSU student counseling services offers free counseling for students. There are hotlines available. One of many numbers available is 1-800-SUICIDE (1-800-784-2433). has all the numbers and is a good source of information. Experts suggest reaching out and talking to friends, family and teachers.

Suicide is a serious matter. There needs to be more focus on the problem. Suicide is not a coward’s way out or an act of selfishness. It is an irrational act of desperation. Unless a person is familiar with the deep darkness of depression that leads one to take their own life he will never understand why a person willing takes their own life. The ones that suffer are those left behind trying to figure out why it happened.

Suicide does not need to be the solution and the second leading cause of death among college students. The problem must be addressed. Suicide must become the least cause of death in college students.