Less stress can save lives

Less+stress+can+save+lives

Sarah Kayali

The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is +1-800-273-8255, and Augustana’s free Student Counseling Service (SCS) can be reached at +1-309-794-7357.
According to CBS News, 1 in 5 college students are so stressed they consider suicide. In other words, 20 percent of college students have thought about killing themselves. In a typical Augustana College classroom of 20 students, 4 students have likely had suicidal thoughts.
When a percentage for a major issue like suicide is this high, we must acknowledge and talk about what’s causing this to happen. We must study and learn why these students are having these thoughts, and most importantly, we must try to fix this issue.
College is very different from high school. Going into college, many students are shocked by the amount of work that is required of them. They begin to get anxiety and panic attacks. As they get older, moving into their second, third and even fourth year of college, the work and studying gets too much to handle.
As we progress through midterms, stress levels are increased. Students start stressing over exams. They can’t handle the amount of work they need to get done over a very small period of time.
Around midterms time, many students have tests in the same week. Some students who are taking three or four classes have many papers to write and many exams to study for. They feel as if there are many things to finish and little to no time to do them.
After putting many hours of studying, pulling all nighters, and drinking loads of coffee to stay awake, some end up getting bad grades. Students feel as if all their time has gone to waste. This is when most of them just give up and feel like it isn’t worth trying anymore.
Having many thoughts in your head and overthinking can be very difficult. Students have to think about keeping their GPA high, applying for future jobs, paying tuition, turning everything in on time, and trying to stay involved. How are students expected not to stress?
Parents get mad at their kids when they don’t have straight A’s, but they don’t know how hard students have to try and all the struggle that goes into having that perfect GPA. Instead of worrying that much about straight A’s, maybe parents should ask their kids if they’re getting enough sleep, or if they’ve experienced extreme sadness or hopelessness, or if they’ve turned to drug use to relieve hopelessness. These are questions that matter much more than a grade on a test.
20 percent of all students surveyed thought about suicide, 9 percent had attempted suicide, and nearly 20 percent injured themselves. These students turn to suicide because they aren’t getting the help they need to stop them from committing such acts. Professors should always be on the lookout for their students.
1 of these 4 students who have had suicidal thoughts in a typical Augustana College classroom could be a close friend of yours. They could be the student sitting right next to you. They could be hiding their struggles and thoughts and pretending to be okay. You must acknowledge the fact that not anyone who smiles or laughs means they’re okay. Always double check and make sure you’re on the lookout for your friends and peers.
As you walk around campus, keep in mind that someone may be having a bad day. Someone may be on the edge of a having a meltdown. Someone may be so tired and sick of studying. Someone may not be okay. As you walk around campus, smile at stranger. Ask how their day is going even if you’ve never talked to them before. That one question or that one smile may make their day much better.
I know it makes me feel better.
 
Graphic above by Noah Robey.