North Carolina State University faced its own crisis this year as the nation struggles with an increase in youth mental health issues.
NCSU reported a total 14 student deaths, of which seven were suicides. This was before the spring graduation this month. About a week prior to commencement, two students committed suicide in a 24 hour period.
Randy Woodson, Chancellor of the University of Arizona, said in a statement on April 27, “This is heartbreaking and I know that there’s not much I can do to soothe the deep hurt and heal the grief felt by these families and friends and others who have lost loved ones this year.” What I can say, is that, like so many members of our community who care about others, I share this grief.
According to Fox News Digital, the rest of the 14 deaths were caused by two overdoses and four natural causes, as well as one auto accident.
In a Fox News Digital statement, NCSU said: “This has certainly been a difficult time for the university community. We’ve had to deal with tragic deaths among our students.” These losses are devastating, especially to the families and friends of those young people who have died over the past year. NC State is committed to strengthening its network of resources and support, especially for students. We will do everything we can to support students, faculty and employees.
The school provides a variety of resources for suicide prevention, including the Student Mental Health Task Force, which was launched in November. Other resources include a suicide prevention portal online with links to information and programs at school, a crisis center and counseling service, as well as a teletherapy program.
Robin Glenn, licensed therapist who works primarily with children and young adults, told Fox News Digital, that sometimes, simply making programs and services available to students was not enough. Schools need to demand them. (Logan Cyrus/Bloomberg)
Robin Glenn is a licensed therapist who works primarily with children and young adults. She told Fox News Digital, “Making services and programs accessible to students often isn’t enough. Schools need to make them mandatory.”
The last thing that a student will do in the dark is to reach out for help.
The resources must be brought to the students. It must be an integrated program that demands daily attendance.
She said that even if the school requires students to talk and gather for 15 minutes during a class or meeting, this program could make them feel less lonely.
Glenn suggested that teachers should come to the students, rather than the opposite. This could be through mandatory webinars, check ins, dorm gatherings or freshman orientation classes that address resiliency and healthy lifestyles.
The Technician, the student newspaper of NCSU, shared similar thoughts with resident advisor Gustavo Armas.
Armas said to the newspaper that the school has been working to provide more opportunities for the community to come together, relax, and take a breather, even if the event is just a pizza gathering. “I’m aware that the school has implemented a lot mental health support, and they have multiple resources. But… they still don’t meet the demand for students who need support.”
Glenn stated that more than half of students in college meet the “criteria” for loneliness.
Each year we examine real depression and not just depressive symptoms.
“We are looking at anxiety in its true form, not just symptoms of anxiety. We’re now looking at a much wider range of diagnostic criteria. “And that number is increasing every year,” said she.
The number of deaths among the 36,000 students at the university in Raleigh is shocking. It’s also a sign of what can happen when a crisis of national proportions hits a small community.
North Carolina Gov. In a Fox News Digital statement, Roy Cooper’s Office said that leaders of the state must give mental health for students “priority”.
Sam Chan, the press secretary for Cooper, said that earlier this year, Cooper brought together state mental health experts with chancellors in order to provide support for student health on college campus. In February, the Governor allocated $7.7million for mental health programs at state colleges and university, following a $5million investment in 2021.
According to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, suicide will be the second leading cause of death for students in college by 2022.
After two years of declining suicide rates between 2019 and 2010, the suicide rate among 15-24 year olds increased by 8% in 2021. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that the national suicide rate for 2020 was 56% higher for those aged 10-24 than it was in 2000.
According to the National Education Association (NEA), which reported in March, mental health issues are more prevalent on college campuses. More students are now considering suicide.
Glenn cited a number of factors that contribute to the mental crisis in college students, including the isolation brought on by COVID-19, social media and peer harassment. Glenn also mentioned academic pressure. According to a report by the 2023 Gallup Lumina Foundation, students are also concerned about the rising cost of college tuition.
Students at North Carolina State University’s Tolley Student Center in Raleigh, North Carolina U.S.
Robin Glenn cited the following factors as contributing to the mental illness crisis among college students: the isolation caused by COVID-19, social media and other forms of technology, peer harassment and discrimination, and academic pressure. (Logan Cyrus/Bloomberg)
U.S. The Surgeon General, Dr. Vivek Murthy, released a warning Tuesday about the impact of social media on youth.
Murthy wrote: “Nearly all teenagers in America use social media. Yet, we don’t have enough evidence to conclude it is safe for them. Especially at this vulnerable stage of their brain, emotional and social development.” “Much evidence that we have suggests there are enough reasons to be concerned about the dangers social media poses. “For example, adolescents who use social media for more than 3 hours per day are twice as likely to develop symptoms of anxiety and depression.”
Murthy said that “children are unknowing participants of a decades-long study.”
Glenn said that as children and adolescents develop, they will “have to undergo some serious neuroplasticity and… unwind this, create new paths, stop some existing ones.”
She said that apps like TikTok are “so detrimental to development.”
Glenn explained that “contagion”, or the phenomenon of other children following a similar path after a tragic event such as a suicide, can also be a major factor.
Glenn stated that “as a collective society, we are lacking in resilience. There’s a lot more pain, and many of these children, but they don’t focus on building up these resources for themselves.” “… There are a number of factors which are aggravating the situation.
Glenn advised young people who felt isolated to get outside and get off their phones, and get involved in activities like sports, extracurriculars, clubs, and other social events.
Call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (988) if you are experiencing a crisis of mental health.