ORIGINAL FEATURE — The San Antonio News-Express explores what it’s like on college campuses for students with mental illness. The newspaper tells the stories of three students who found help meeting the challenges of college life.
[Their stories are] hardly an anomaly. It is estimated that between 10 percent and 20 percent of college students struggle with serious and persistent mental illness — bipolar disorder, major depression, schizophrenia … The reality is that young adults with mental disorders often struggle in the college milieu, given the unique and stressful atmosphere of campus life … This is especially true for students whose disorders first manifest while they’re at college … the age of onset of many mental health illnesses is between 18 and 24.
Suicide is a leading cause of death among college students, and one of the students featured in the News-Express story had a history of suicide attempts before she came to college, and was hospitalized once for a non-fatal attempt in her junior year.
[Her] story has a happy ending. Her moods again became stable through medication and therapy — she is a frequent client at [the] counseling center — and she has stopped drinking for good. In December she will graduate with honors. [The student] … will earn a bachelor’s degree in speech communication and marketing and plans to be a spokeswoman for a bipolar awareness campaign.
The conclusions of a recent panel held at Columbia Law School on campus suicide are reported in a story in the Columbia Spectator. Panel member Dr. Morton Silverman, longtime editor of the suicidology field’s academic journal Suicide and Life Threatening Behavior, “estimated that there are about 1,300 suicides on college campuses annually, which translates into three suicides a day.”
For prevention, Silverman suggested increasing resources and improving the quality of counseling centers, including better supervision of at-risk individuals, media training, sustainable programming, and cross-institutional mental health task forces.