Suicide numbers rising in college students, local groups try to help those in need

Capitol Bureau

TOPEKA, Kan. (KSNT) – Suicide is the tenth leading cause of death in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control. For college-aged students, it ranks at number two.

Colleges are offering counseling services including Washburn University in Topeka.

“We definitely can be helpful for students that are feeling kind of not themselves anymore or maybe thinking they might need some support,” said Emily Meyerhoffer-Kubalik, a counselor at the school.

Other organizations are working with colleges and governmental agencies to fight the issue.

“We need to talk more because I think death occurs when we’re in isolation and when we’re alone,” said Monica Kurz, director at Headquarters Inc., a non-profit that runs the Kansas Suicide Prevention Resource Center in Lawrence.

“When people are connected, that’s where we see a lot of safety really occurring,” she said.

At Headquarters, they have volunteers taking calls around the clock, helping people with suicidal thoughts.

“We kind of do everything we can to keep as many Kansans getting help in Kansas as possible,” Kurz said. “We think that it’s really important, being able to provide them with resources that make sense in their communities and also understanding where they’re coming from.”

Suicide has risen across the board in the last couple of decades but the group of people concerning many is the age range of 15 to 25-year-olds.

A lot can be changing in a person’s life in that age range, and their brain is still growing.

“Problem-solving and emotional regulation skills are still developing,” Meyerhoffer-Kubalik. “They’re facing stressors like being away from home for the first time, maybe being away from their support networks that they’ve built at home, and then kind of adjusting to class schedules and kind of regulating themselves for the first time,” she said.

Experts said that anyone can be affected by suicide and that there is nothing wrong to ask for help.

They said that asking directly if someone is considering suicide is okay and that it can help open up the conversation.

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