Student suicide rates increase at Ivy Leagues and prestigious universities

Ivy Leagues and other prestigious universities are known to have a difficult workload on students. These schools are so difficult to get into meaning that the students who do attend are often high achieving students who may be three times more anxious and depressed than the average person.

Students are often too preoccupied with their schoolwork that they don’t have the time to worry about their mental or emotional health. Negligence of mental health may cause illnesses that may lead to suicide.

When a person is used to being competitive their entire life it may be difficult to adapt to a place where everyone is also used to being competitive. Their drive for success should be something that is used to connect with others but instead students often compare themselves to one another. This is a toxic mindset that students should get out of, it would be more beneficial to work together instead of seeing each other as competition.

In order to help prevent a student’s mental health from deteriorating, students should try to remember that there is so much more to life than school, your life is worth more than a bad grade and nothing is worth taking your life.

Having a support system is essential to mental health. Usually, when students go off to college they leave behind their friends and family and are left with no support system. This makes them more vulnerable to depression, anxiety and other mental health issues.

Between 1990 to 2010, 29 people attempted suicide by jumping off the bridge in Ithica City. Out of those deaths, 27 out of the 29 attempts were successful and 15 out of the 27 were Cornell University students. The suicide rates were getting so out of hand that the university was forced to install nets underneath the bridges to catch any person attempting to jump off and end their life.

While installing these nets is a good idea, maybe instead of focusing on what to do after a student reaches the point of suicide, they should focus on why and how they’re arriving at those thoughts and what can be done to stop it.

“They should really try to improve their mental health department, reduce the workload because it is a lot of work, and create more places for students to relax and take time off,” Cornell University junior Yonatan Mekonnen said.

There are many ways to help prioritize your mental wellness such as deep breathing, exercise, reading, and social interaction.

Deep breathing helps with anxiety and stress by increasing the supply of oxygen flow to your brain which stimulates your nervous system and helps promote a sense of calmness. Research has shown that exercise helps someone sleep better, stress relief, overall better mood, increased energy, and better brain function.

Studies have shown that reading a good book can calm the mind and relax the body, helping to slow the heart rate and lower blood pressure which helps you relax. The specific term for this is called bibliotherapy which may be beneficial to students because they’re already surrounded with many books in their day to day lives. Social interaction helps you connect and communicate with others which in turn gives you a sense of self worth and increases your dopamine levels when you’re surrounded with people you enjoy the presence of.

“My school does not ensure it’s student mental wellness. Although they have a counseling center there is a long waitlist to get in and half the people aren’t certified. There have been a few suicides here and I think the university is not taking the measures to ensure it doesn’t happen in the future,” Annandale alum and Vanderbilt University senior Bitania Endalkachew said.

The transition from a high school student to a college student can be quite difficult for some people. You’re often surrounded by new people, new teachers and sometimes a new home. It’s like starting from scratch all over again. Not to mention, the increased workload and stress levels for high achieving students.

“My school administration causes me the most stress. They create arbitrary rules and force you to go through a long process for no real reasons. I genuinely wish I didn’t go to this school because of them,” Endalkachew said.

Most university’s alumni advise young college students to get plenty of sleep and manage their time wisely. It is understandable to be stressed from school but it’s important to have an outlet to your stress and not let it build up. Try your best to stay positive and if needed, talk to a trusted adult or friend.

If you or someone you know is in immediate distress or is thinking about hurting themselves, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline toll-free at 1-800-273-TALK (8255) or the toll-free TTY number at 1-800-799-4TTY (4889). You also can text the Crisis Text Line (HELLO to 741741) or go to the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline website