Article: The sickening silence about suicide on campus

Filling our students with knowledge is not enough; they deserve good health too.

Andre Picard  – Opinion section of the Globe and Mail, Tuesday March 25, 2019

Some highlights from the article:

When schools refuse to utter the word “suicide,” they perpetuate stigma and shame, and they sidestep their responsibility to the community.

While we don’t know how many suicides occur on Canadian campuses yet, we do know that suicide is but the tip of the iceberg.  Mental-health woes are commonplace in our institutions of higher learning.

The numbers in the most recent National College Assessment Survey are troubling:

  • 65 per cent of college and university students say they suffer from overwhelming anxiety
  • 46 per cent say they are depressed to the point that it interferes with everyday life
  • 15 percent self-injure by cutting or burning
  • 14 per cent of students say they have considered suicide
  • 2.1 per cent say they have survived a suicide attempt

Filling the students’ heads with knowledge is not enough; they need to leave school in good health, and with coping skills too.

Those teachings need to happen before students arrive in postsecondary institutions.Resilience is a learned skill and we are not teaching it early enough or well enough.  But that’s a long-term project.