As many know, a 19-year-old student at UPENN named Madison Holleran committed suicide recently. According to news sources, she decided to embark on this path due to self-induced stress. Despite phrasing her demise this way, Madison Holleran having depression and “induced stress” shouldn’t suffice as a reason to commit suicide. Madison Holleran’s death sparked an outpouring of grief and astonishment. Holleran’s friends in her hometown and high school in North Jersey said that she was “perfection.” Although the majority of students who contemplate suicide in college don’t seek professional help, Madison Holleran did. Methods for suicide prevention need a new approach. Suicide has become the leading cause of death amongst college students in the United States.
It is significant to note that mental illness does not lead to suicidal behavior. In fact, most people who suffer from a mental illness do not die by suicide. Only 26 percent of college students are aware of their campus’ mental health resources. According to the Ohio State University Suicide Prevention, college is sometimes called “the age of depression.” Research shows that the peak years for the onset of depression symptoms occur in the early teens and increase through the mid 20s. Over 20 million Americans experience depression each year and many develop their first symptoms before or during college. Although some degree of stress is normal in times of change and transition, for some students, it can become overwhelming. Not surprisingly, research shows that stress can contribute to the development of depression and other mental illnesses. Through use of public health tools, the Suicide Prevention Program tries to prevent suicide through a range of outreach activities. There are many ways suicide can be prevented. Talking helps, but a proactive approach is joining the Buckeyes Campaign against suicide (follow @BCASOSU on Twitter). BCAS is a student organization that aims to promote mental health and suicide awareness. This organization was developed in consideration for all those who have died by suicide in the hopes that others will not; in support of all those who have survived suicide, so that they may heal; and for all those that care, so that they may help in the campaign to further promote suicide awareness and prevention.
Like any other disease, depression should be regarded as such. Although depression can be preconceived as “something in your head,” it truly is not. Depression is sensitive. It does not mean that one is weak–it just means that they’ve been strong for too long. Hopefulness is the best defense against suicide. It is always better to overreact than under-react.