Suicide Rates and the Troubling Economy
Suicide is at the fore front of health concerns among college students.
Published: Wednesday, December 2, 2009
Updated: Thursday, December 3, 2009 15:12
The connection between our nationwide recession and suicide rates may once again be a growing issue as the current market struggles to stabilize. According to the American Association of Suicidology the third leading cause of death for people between the ages of 15-24 is suicide.
An American College Health Association survey found that 30 percent of college students felt "so depressed it was hard to function." Currently, USA Today polls found that as stress "shot up " in 2008, over-all emotional well being dropped because people found themselves worrying more about the economy.
"Suicide is not just the end of a job, [suicide] is something more long standing," explained Valley College Psychology Professor Ronald Mossler. Mossler added that suicide and depression do have a high correlation and those who attempt or commit suicide at least have a short-term history of depression.
College students sacrifice working full-time jobs, making them vulnerable to layoffs, to instead further their education. The unemployed are two to four times more likely to commit suicide than the employed, and while more people are seeking help, suicide rates are on the rise according to the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. Data collected by MSNBC shows national unemployment has currently been reported as high as 10.2 percent, the next report is to be released in December, unemployment numbers are expected go rise to 11 percent.
"I recently had a close family friend commit suicide. This person had experienced life a lot, so it can happen at any age," shared Valley student Reed Segovia, he went on to say, "Definitely [the economy] can affect especially students, it makes it harder and harder."
Those seeking degrees at 4-year universities and beyond are also looking at future debt and in 2009 reports surged of worried degree holding graduates entering an empty job market. CNN reported this year college grads had 40 percent fewer prospects. Jobs for graduates with bachelor's degrees, which account for most new graduate hires, will drop nearly 1 percent next year.
Campuses offer counseling to those suffering depression or excessive stress, yet shorter counseling sessions from doctors who work beyond their capacities could limit any consoling and relief a person needs.
Tootsa Coghlan works at Didi Hirsch Community Mental Health Center in suicide prevention and suicide hotline. "When things go bad with the economy the suicide call rates and phone lines went up 300 percent. The lines were so busy I was taking four or five calls. And, at least three of those calls had to do with the economic crisis." She explained, "We have so much more out there to reach than our parents did or even people ten years older than us did, so there is pressure of being successful. - Everyone needs to calm down."
Information from the Archives of General Psychiatry also stated that alcohol disorders afflict one in five college students, and personality disorders are present in 17.7 percent of students. Through experience and knowledge obtained in her field of work, Coghlan confirmed that most who contemplate suicide, or form "suicide plans" are those who had previously suffered from mental disorders or have a history of drug or alcohol abuse. A statistic in suicide research as she states is that, " One in 12 college students have made a suicide plan."