SAMHSA’s Award-Winning Newsletter
March/April 2011, Volume 19, Number 2 

illustration of two college students avoiding a student in need

Preventing Suicide on College Campuses

College can be a stressful time, and the numbers bear that out. The American College Health Association’s 2006 National College Health Assessment found that 94 percent of the college and university students surveyed reported that they felt overwhelmed by everything they had to do. Forty-four percent confessed that they had felt so depressed it was difficult to function. And 18 percent had a depressive disorder.

According to SAMHSA’s National Survey on Drug Use and Health, in 2008, young adults age 18 to 25 were more likely than adults age 26 to 49 to have had serious thoughts of suicide (6.7 percent vs. 3.9 percent).

These statistics underscore why Prevention of Substance Abuse and Mental Illness—including suicide prevention—is the first of eight Strategic Initiatives that will guide SAMHSA’s work through 2014 (see Suicide Prevention: Top Priority for SAMHSA and the Nation).

“Suicide is a preventable tragedy for college students, their families, and our communities,” said SAMHSA Administrator Pamela S. Hyde, J.D., noting the importance of education about depression, substance abuse, and other suicide risk factors, as well as resources such as SAMHSA’s National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. “By working on suicide prevention on campuses and elsewhere, we can save thousands of lives.”

For college students, they need all the support they can get. The bad economy is adding to students’ stress about debt and job prospects once they graduate. A 2010 Higher Education Research Institute study of more than 200,000 freshmen entering 4-year colleges found that their emotional health had declined to the lowest level since the annual survey began 25 years ago.

The Campus Suicide Prevention Grants program is one way SAMHSA is working to achieve that goal. The program supports colleges and universities in their efforts to prevent suicide among students and to enhance services for students with depression, substance abuse, and other behavioral health problems that put them at risk of suicide. (See East Tennessee University: Reaching Students Online, University of Guam: Transforming a Legend, and Boston University: Revealing Secrets Can Help Students for three campus grantees.)

The National Action Alliance for Suicide Prevention is taking action on a broader scale (see Action Alliance Identifies Three High-Risk Populations for Suicide Prevention Efforts). With this public/private partnership, Ms. Hyde and other leaders from Government, business, the advocacy community, and other groups work together to advance the National Strategy for Suicide Prevention.

For more information about SAMHSA’s suicide prevention activities, visit http://www.samhsa.gov/prevention/suicide.aspx. SAMHSA News online (Archives) also offers an extensive list of related articles.


  Cover Story & Related Articles  
Preventing Suicide on College Campuses

Preventing Suicide on College Campuses

College can be a stressful time, and the numbers bear that out.


  From the Administrator  
Suicide Prevention Is Top Priority

Suicide Prevention Is Top Priority

Suicide prevention is top priority at SAMHSA. Read more.


  Children & Trauma  
Children’s Mental Health

Children’s Mental Health

Children’s Mental Health Awareness Day focuses on trauma.


  Grants  
Block Grants: Changes Open for Comments

Block Grants: Changes Open for Comments

Have a comment on the recent changes to the block grants?


  Art & Prevention  
How Art Can Raise Awareness

How Art Can Raise Awareness

SAMHSA commissioned a painting by Sam English.


  Awards Season  
PRISM Awards & Voice Awards

PRISM Awards & Voice Awards

Two awards galas honor accurate depictions of mental health and substance abuse issues.


  Suicide Prevention  
National Action Alliance & High-Risk Groups

National Action Alliance & High-Risk Groups

Nat’l Action Alliance’s new task forces, ER reports on antidepressants, drug-related attempts.


  Alcohol Awareness Month  
From SAMHSA’s Blog

From SAMHSA’s Blog

Who’s at risk? Read SAMHSA’s blog. Videos by states on underage drinking.


  Also in this Issue  
Healing Beyond Borders

Healing Beyond Borders

SAMHSA-Iraq Initiative focuses on mental health.

Traumatic Brain Injury

Traumatic Brain Injury

An advisory from SAMHSA’s CSAT.


  Statistics & Data  
Inhalants Update

Inhalants Update

Inhalants are dangerous. Who is “huffing”?


  Women & Substance Abuse  
Young Mothers

Young Mothers

Age 15 to 19 is a vulnerable time.


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