Handling signs of depression

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By Veronica Widman / Staff Writer

Depression (Allison Perez / Photo Editor)

By Veronica Widman / Staff Writer

One of the biggest and most tragic decisions that a college student can make is the decision to end his or her own life.

According to the American College Health Association, suicide is currently the second most common cause of death among college students.

There are fliers scattered around the Riverside City College campus that urge students to speak with a counselor if they are feeling overwhelmed or stressed, but are students reading these words or do they go unnoticed?

What else can be done if a student does not seek help?

Unfortunately, there is not much one can do if a student has been considering suicide with no detectable changes in their behavior and no signs to foreshadow what they plan to do, but if students make themselves aware of the warning signs that can be recognized, it might just save a life.

Probably the most obvious of all warning signs is depression. If the depression is noticeable, it should not be taken lightly.

It is imperative that the issue be addressed by the student, a teacher, a friend, or a loved one, to the safest extent possible.

According to WebMD, over 90 percent of people who committed suicide had clinical depression or another diagnosable mental disorder.

However, only 39 percent of people with severe depression seek out a mental health professional.

Other warning signs include always talking or thinking about death, depression that gets worse, tempting fate with risky behavior, such as driving fast or running red lights, losing interest in things one used to care about, putting affairs in order or tying up loose ends, saying things like “it would be better if I was not here,” or visiting and calling people to say goodbye.

One of the final warning signs that should be taken the most serious is a sudden, unexpected switch from being very sad to being very calm or appearing to be happy.

When a student has been contemplating taking his or her own life and is struggling with depression or substance abuse, the idea of suicide can seem comforting or calming.

This would cause the student to no longer seem depressed, but rather happy that it will all finally be over.

Students, parents, and others should not mistake this warning sign as a sign that the student is improving or that they are no longer depressed, as it can be a fatal mistake.

Students: if you are, in fact, feeling overwhelmed or stressed, you are strongly urged to seek help.

There are professionally trained therapists available on campus, ready and more than willing to help.

With homework, midterms, finals, and work, it is reasonable for a student to feel overwhelmed, but it is important to still realize that suicide is not the answer.

If it is a specific environment that is stressing you out or causing your depression, then remove yourself from the environment. If it is school or work, take a vacation.

It is estimated that every suicide intimately affects at least six other people and those people are left with unresolved grief, confusion, and feelings of abandonment.

Suicidal persons believe that, in ending their life, they are getting rid of the pain.

In all actuality, they are only passing it on tenfold to their friends and family.

Research has found that many young people who survived a suicide attempt are very glad to be alive and never attempted suicide again.

If you are having suicidal fantasies or you recognize a student with suicidal tendencies, please do not let the issue go unattended. Each life is precious and it is a tragedy when one is ended all too soon.

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