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Time spent in college can be exhilarating and hopeful, as it is a major stepping-stone for many young adults. Yet, college students often have to undergo pressures like managing heavy loads of coursework, working part-time or full-time jobs and engaging in extracurriculars, all while attempting to maintain constant contact with friends and family. Not only can coping with the stress of choosing the right major and future career can be extremely detrimental to a student’s mental health, but it is also one of the leading causes of depression and anxiety that has become so prevalent on college campuses.

With suicide being one of the leading causes of death for college students, it is important that available resources are spotlighted to help empower students through a very critical time of transition. The high demand for an academic environment takes a toll on one in three college students’ mental health. Thus, students are in need of widespread support both on and off campus. 

Be Aware of the Signs

The Mayo Clinic’s research determined that the majority of people who have considered attempting suicide have shown clear signs prior. As a student and a friend, bringing awareness to certain behavioral, personality or emotional changes can help save a life. Some warning signs to look out for in loved ones are;

  • Mentioning feeling hopeless or worthless
  • Talking about being a burden to others
  • Dramatically increasing drug or alcohol usage
  • Acting reckless or anxious
  • Lack of sleep or sleeping too much
  • Displaying drastic mood swings
  • Lack of interest in hobbies, school or work
  • Loses interest in personal appearance 
  • Withdraws themselves from peers or family members

Depression and anxiety are just two of many widespread mental health conditions that need to be given attention to.. Students need support from their family members, classmates, professors and campus faculty. A simple check-in on a friend can be a reminder that they are not alone, and that their life matters. 

While those enduring suicidal thoughts do not overtly disclose their thoughts and feelings, they do drop non-verbal hints. When it comes to suicide attempts or ideation, it’s not possible for everyone to stay in a hospital or receive treatment due to finances, facility capacity or the patient denying help. But creating connections with those around you and maintaining those relationships can be a major factor in preventing suicide. 

By destigmatizing and openly discussing mental health, awareness can be raised around campus. As a result, a life can be saved. If you or someone you know are having suicidal thoughts, call or text the suicide and crisis lifeline at 988, or call the Crisis of Intervention Houston Hotline at 832-416-1177. Support groups, single or group counseling, workshops and self-help resources are also available on the University of Houston website.

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