I was at a volleyball tournament in Chicago. We had just lost the championship game and all my teammates were clearly upset. My coach emerged from the locker room; her eyes were swollen and red from crying. Suddenly, every phone began vibrating, ringing, and lighting up. Confused, I read the thirty-two text messages I had received in the span of ten minutes. Every single one contained the same message, Karen was gone; she had committed suicide. From that day forward the word suicide has never held the same context. Rather than teenage suicide being some controversy discussed in the news, it became a painful reality.
Suicide, the deliberate act of ending one's own life, is currently on the rise and has become the third leading cause of death amongst adolescents and teenagers. In the past twenty-five years, the general occurrence of suicide has decreased, yet the rate for those between ages fifteen and twenty-four have tripled, ages that encompasses both high school and college students. Although the decision to commit suicide is highly personal and may not be fully determined, there are certain situations and circumstances that share common threads. The rates of suicide amongst college students are increasing due to major life transitions, which may cause existing psychological problems to arise or even trigger new ones along with increased substance abuse in the college setting. In addition to psychological problems and substance abuse, potential warning signs are not recognized, or we merely refuse to accept them.
Going away to college is a rite of passage felt by millions of teenagers across the country. For many, it is a time of excitement, even though it could be three o’clock in the morning and that dang History paper isn’t done yet. However, college can be terrifying for those who can’t adjust to leaving friends, family, and home and feel a deep sense of loneliness and abandonment. Add the mounting pressure from professors, scholarship committees, family, and personal desires to succeed and make the Dean’s List every semester. Depression can and often does occur from these circumstances. Furthermore, academic pressure is starting at a much earlier age, along with an increase in depression rates amongst high school students. The academic system has gotten extremely competitive, so there are many self-inflicted pressure as well as outside pressures to be accepted into a top-notch university and excel. Being denied from such universities may lead to a sense of complete failure or rejection, causing the student to become depressed.
“College can be a difficult transition, with new independence, responsibilities and expectations arriving just as a student's previous support system of family and friends are often not readily available. To add to the problem, the late teen years are often when biologically-based illnesses, such as depression and bipolar disorder, begin to manifest themselves. And students, who are new at asserting and managing...