Parents send their kids to college to get an education, to build the foundation for a future and in one minute it can all be taken away – with a fall from a college building.
College students falling from the roofs of campus buildings are becoming all too common. While some of the students have actually taken their lives, many have fallen due to being inebriated and on drugs and some have just lost their footing.
Whatever the reason, it’s happening too often. From New York, to Seattle, to North Carolina, to Philadelphia … the geography doesn’t matter. These young people with their whole lives ahead of them are gone.
According to Active Minds, Mental health issues are a leading impediment to academic success among college students. Untreated mental illness in the college student population — including depression, anxiety and eating disorders — is associated with lower GPA and higher probability of dropping out of school. Treatment is effective and available yet because of an unnecessary shame surrounding these issues, mental health is not discussed and too many students are suffering in silence.
Mental health issues are prevalent among college students:
· An estimated 26 percent of Americans ages 18 and older – or about 1 in 4 adults – live with a diagnosable mental health disorder. . Half of all serious adult psychiatric illnesses – including major depression, anxiety disorders, and substance abuse – start by 14 years of age. Three-fourths of them are present by 25 years of age.
. Compared to older adults, the 18-24 year old age group shows the lowest rate of help-seeking.
Mental health issues can be deadly:
· Suicide is the 2nd leading cause of death among college students, claiming the lives of 1,100 students each year.
· 67% of college students tell a friend they are feeling suicidal before telling anyone else.
. More than half of college students have had suicidal thoughts and 1 in 10 students seriously consider attempting suicide. Half of students who have suicidal thoughts never seek counselling or treatment.
· 80-90% of college students who die by suicide were not receiving help from their college counselling centers.
According to the National Institute of Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, 1,825 college students between the ages of 18 and 24 die each year from alcohol-related unintentional injuries. These students go to the top of their campus buildings drunk and on drugs. Not only are they impaired, but so is their balance.
And what about the students who innocently visit campus building roofs to think and to get air? Many are falling off these campus building roofs purely by accident due to slipping or tripping on an object.
Campus building roofs have no security and there are no safety guards to stop students from falling off of their roofs. No matter what the cause is, students falling from these roofs is becoming an epidemic.
From 2010-2013, 36 students died while enrolled at Penn State. According to Assistant Vice President of Student Affairs Joseph Puzycki, there were 11 deaths from 2010-2011 – Suicide (5), Accident (3) Medical or unknown (3). There were 11 deaths from 2011-2012 – Medical or unknown (5), Accident (4) , Suicide (2) and 14 deaths and from 2012 – 2013 there were 14 deaths – Suicide (6), Medical or cause unknown (4) and Accident (4).
Nobody collects nationwide data on the number and cause of student deaths. Why are these deaths going unnoticed? What are college campuses doing to secure the safety of their students? If mental illness is involved, what are these schools doing to help treat these young people?
Parents don’t send their kids to college to die. We must find the answer and must find a way to help these students.
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Ross Ellis is also the Examiner for:
National Parenting Examiner
NY Real Estate