NYU suicides create national awareness

By Kristen Catalanotto
April 1, 2004

New York University has recently been thrust unto the media spotlight due to the occurrence of four of their undergraduate students committing suicide.

Suicide is the second leading cause of death among college students, accidents being the number one cause. However, suicide is more likely to occur when students take longer than four years to complete their degree due to absence because of a mental illness.

Studies have shown that those prone to thoughts of suicide and those who actually carry out their plans are usually not students who are wild and risk takers, but are those who are quiet, withdrawn and depressed,period period. According to Ulifeline, “95 percent of college students who commit suicide are suffering from a mental illness, usually depression,” according to Ulifeline.

Men are more likely to follow through with their plans of taking their own life, even thought women deal with clinical depression more.

The signs of a suicidal person vary; some individuals have changes in their behavior, while others show signs of physical differences. Substance abuse can often lead to someone taking their own life.

Acceptance plays a large role in someone considering whether or not to commit suicide. Many individuals are seeking to live up to their families expectations. These people want to make their parents happy, so they turn to their school work as a way of succeeding.

When these individuals fall short of their desired goals, they often turn to taking their own life in order to escape their pain and disappointment. According to a study done by the American Foundation of Suicide Prevention, “Academic drudgery in the service of winning parental love perpetuates these students’ connections with their parents, even as it threatens these connections by edging the student closer to graduating into an autonomous life.”

The most recent of the NYU suicides involved sophomore transfer student, Diana Chien. Chien was only 19 when she jumped to her death from her boyfriend’s 24-story apartment complex. Occurring According to sources, she had just fought with the boyfriend before she went through with the act.

Like most individuals who commit suicide, Chien showed warning signs of taking her own life. Those who commit suicide often talk openly about suicide and ‘wanting out’ or ‘ending it all.’

Cabrini offers help in the Rooyman’s center for those who need someone to talk to. Public Safety also takes the proper precautions according to the director, Charlie Schaffner. Public safety would make sure an individual gets medical attention and has someone to talk to.

Dr. Alan Lipschitz has done extensive research concerning suicide and college students. According to Lipschitz once an individual is recognized as being suicidal, the college has a responsibility to make sure they get help. Teachers, sports coaches and resident assistants can play a huge role in reaching out to help those who are contemplating taking their own life.

Lipschitz also studied foreign exchange students and how they can sometimes have thought of suicide due to feelings of isolation, “Social isolation is an especially severe problem for these foreign students and their high suicide rate may underline the importance of social isolation in fostering suicide,” Lipschitz said.

For more information concerning college students and suicide and how to get help visit these places on the web or call:
National Mental Health Association- 1-800-989-6642
American Foundation for Suicide Prevention- 1-888-333-2377

Posted to the Web by Shawn Rice

Kristen Catalanotto

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