Suicide kills more people worldwide every year than war, and college-age students are among the most vulnerable, said Monica Kintigh, a licensed professional counselor in the TCU Counseling Center.Statistics show that suicide is the third leading cause of death for 15- to 24-year-olds, according to the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry.
Kintigh presented SuicideTALK, a community forum based on ways to help prevent suicide, on Sept. 15 in the Huguley Fitness Center.
“It’s scary because you never know who is thinking about it,” said Jason Riddell, a sophomore graphic design major.
“One cause,” Riddell said, “could be that students feel overwhelmed. Coming to college is a culture shock, with a lot of students wandering around without a sense of purpose.”
Kintigh said that one out of every 17 people seriously consider suicide.
Eric Tabone, a sophomore finance and accounting major, said, “Suicide is a real depressing matter. Just the thought of someone our age taking his or her life is hard to deal with.”
Tabone said he has never known anyone who has committed suicide, but he said that if one of his friends started having suicidal thoughts, he would try to help as much as possible.
Michael Katovich, a professor of sociology, said suicide from a sociologist’s point of view is to think of it in terms of social integration – that suicide is not an isolated act, but instead, an act within a societal context.
“Students are willing to talk about suicide,” Katovich said.
In his death and dying class, Katovich said he starts out talking about suicide in an intellectual way, focusing on the conditions at which people might commit suicide instead of the ways to fix or stop it.
Riddell said he believes that it is necessary to know what action to take if a situation arises.
“I think the most important thing is that you have a place to go if you need help,” Riddell said.
Kintigh said, “When students come to me with thoughts of suicide, I listen completely, and I try to help as much as possible.
“The more we avoid suicide, the more that person having thoughts about suicide feels more alone.”
There are many ways to get help, Kintigh said. There is a 24-hour national suicide hotline, 1-800-273-TALK, that students may call.
There are also area hospitals and treatment centers available, such as, Baylor All Saints Medical Hospital.
If students have an emergency after 5 p.m., they should call the TCU Police at 817-257-7777, and an officer will contact an on-call staff member, Kintigh said.
Students may also visit the TCU Counseling Center, located at the west entrance of the Health Center. For more information, visit the Web site, www.counseling.tcu.edu.
According to the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, “Symptoms of suicidal feelings are similar to those of depression … but with support from family and professional treatment, teenagers who are suicidal can heal …