Who is Responsible for the Rise of Student Suicide on College Campuses?

It’s hard to imagine something more tragic than the loss of a life that had only just begun – but those who have experienced the tragedy of a college student committing suicide know the pain and emotional trauma that follows all too well. Even worse, sometimes clear signs are missed that could have helped or potentially saved the young person’s life. If you believe there were extenuating factors surrounding the suicide of a loved one, contact an attorney from Altman & Altman LLP to investigate right away.

Young adult suicide rates alarmingly high

According to the American College Health Association, suicide rates for young adults aged 15-24 has tripled since the 1950s – with suicide being the second most common cause of death among college students. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention, too, reports it as the second leading cause of death for people between the age of 10 and 24. A study by the Harvard University Medical School found that as many as 20 percent of college students in the U.S. reported having suicidal thoughts in the course of one year.

There is not an empirically accepted reason for why this is, as much research still being conducted, but factors may include the fact that college students are not only removed from their support networks for the first time in their lives, they are also likely under the most pressure to succeed in their lives as well. They are tasked with excelling in school while maintaining a social life on their own, all with the knowledge that they should have a good idea of what they want to do for work for the rest of their lives within the four-year window of schooling.

If a student already has undiagnosed mental issues or other mental problems – like a traumatic history or drug addictions – that make depression or suicidal thoughts more likely, it can create a perfect atmosphere for those tragic thoughts to take root and grow.

Many colleges have robust mental health facilities and take caution to train staff to look out for the signs of depression and anxiety – which can lead to suicide. Other campuses, however, are not so progressive in looking out for their students. Even when universities try to prevent such tragedies from occurring, it can still happen anywhere. Rowan University in New Jersey recently experienced three suicides in the span of just two months, which rocked the campus and prompted them to take steps to improve mental health counseling access and even the opening of a full-time pet therapy center.

More can always be done to protect our young people

When we send our children off to universities, we hope that they will be safe and taken care of. This doesn’t just mean safe physically from bodily harm, but also safe in the respect that they will have access to mental health counseling if necessary. Stories of students being unable to see a mental health counselor in a timely manner are troubling, and arise questions about where the priorities of school administration and alumni boards truly lie.

If you or a loved one either attempted suicide or lost their life through a suicidal incident, and you believe that their university failed to adequately try to help them, please call Altman & Altman LLP right away to see if there is anything we can do. Universities have a responsibility to look out for the well being of their students, and if clear signs of distress were missed, they may be liable for the wrongful death that occurred on their grounds.

With over 50 years of experience assisting our clients who have been hurt or had loved ones lose their lives in a wrongful manner, we will be able to answer all of your questions and establish a legal strategy that is in line with your specific situation. Located in the heart of Cambridge, we have a specific affinity for helping students of our many fine universities who may be struggling.

Contact us online or call for a free consultation to go over the details of your case today at 617-492-3000 or toll-free at 800-481-6199. We are available 24/7.

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