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School Safety Topics

Depression and Suicide Prevention

Depression is not a personal weakness, character flaw or a result of uninformed parenting. It is a mental illness that affects the entire person, changing the way he or she thinks, feels and acts. Early diagnosis and treatment is important in preventing consequences such as failure in school, substance abuse and even suicide.

Any talk or suggestion of suicide is a call for help and must be taken seriously.

Understanding the Issue


Suicide is the second leading cause of death for persons 18-24 in the U.S. One fourth of all people 18-24 years in the U.S. are either full- or part-time college students. Research shows an inextricable link between students' emotional and mental health and their ability to learn. A student is not able to benefit from the educational program if he or she is suicidal or preoccupied by concerns about someone who may be thinking about suicide. Few events have greater impact than suicide upon students, parents and staff.


Many people experience the first symptoms of depression during their college years. Unfortunately, many college students who have depression aren't getting the help they need. They may not know where to go for help, or they may believe that treatment won't help. Others don't get help because they think their symptoms are just part of the typical stress of college, or they worry about being judged if they seek mental health care. But there is help available. Most colleges offer free or low-cost mental health services to students, and depression is a medical illness and treatments can be very effective. In fact, early diagnosis and treatment of depression can relieve depression symptoms, prevent depression from returning and help students succeed in college and after graduation. (Source: National Institute of Mental Health)

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1 (800) 273-8255

Suicide Facts:

• Nearly half of all college students say they felt so depressed that they found it difficult to function in the past school year.

• Depression affects 1 out of every 7 Americans. More Americans suffer from depression than coronary heart disease, cancer, and HIV/AIDS.

One in ten college students has considered suicide.

• Suicide is the second leading cause of death in college-age students.

• There are 4 male suicides for every female suicide.

• Highest rates of suicide by race are among White Caucasians (32%) and American Indian or Alaska Native (29%).

LGBTQ youth have higher rates of suicidal ideation and suicide attempts than their heterosexual peers. 

Source: UC Berkeley