Suicide at Arizona State University

UPDATE: The ASU State Press has an update on the suicide incident this  morning here.

This sad, breaking news from the ASU student newspaper: A graduate student committed suicide at 11:40 a.m. in the College of Design South building. The State Press is reporting via Twitter and their Website that the building is on lockdown after the student shot himself inside a professors office. Heartbreaking. Keep tuned to the State Press for further developments, but, in the meantime, think about this:

National Public Radio has been running a series of broadcasts on the increase in mental distress among today’s college students. You can view today’s broadcast here. You’ll hear how more and more of our college students are depressed, stressed and not dealing with life very well. Part of it is they seem to think they have to be perfect – not really surprising considering they are products of the most-involved (some say overinvolved) parental generation of all times.

So, if you know a college student, talk to them – and listen. These kids need to feel like they are not alone. Case in point: Yesterday, at church, I met a new kid, freshman from out of town. I talked to her about her classes, etc., and at some point I said if she got lonely, she could come over to our house for a meal. I was surprised to see her face light up so instantly (my cooking isn’t that good!) and even more surprised when she said, “They just think we can do this on our own, you know? Everyone thinks we’re ok, but sometimes we just need advice on how to handle all these changes.”

The words just blurted out of her mouth, it was like she’d just been waiting for someone – anyone – to notice that she was 18, in a new city, adjusting to hard classes and major demands and more freedom than she knew what to do with and peer pressure and professor pressure and God knows what else. It hurt to watch.

They aren’t as OK as we think they are, these young people crowding our supermarkets and our roads. We need to pay attention to that.

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7 thoughts on “Suicide at Arizona State University

  1. Thanks for posting this and for being there for that particular girl. You obviously helped her to feel more cared for. You bring up a very important issue. They really are so young to go to college when you think about it. My 5th child just started as a freshman in college this fall. I am in touch with her regularly with support and to keep the lines of communication open. I don’t have worries about her except that I miss her! But, so many young college kids do feel all alone. I think parents are very niave to think that they can handle everything on their own. They need our help and advice. It saddens me when I hear parents of college aged kids say something to the affect, “I’m done! I raised her. She’ll have to grow up now.” It’s crazy! I pray for them. I gave a retreat over the week end and brought up the subject of the culture’s pressures on our young girls and how we have to be sure to reach out to them when they are young and set an example for them, befriend them so they have someone to turn to. This goes for boys too, but the subject happened to be for girls at the retreat. I’d love to hear some other thoughts out there. God bless, Donna-Marie

  2. I am sad that the young woman you befriended didn’t seem to kow of all the resources for students at the UofA which I assume are much like those at ASU. Here, academic advisers like myself make ourselves to all our students, including freshmen, and have information and ties to literally hundreds of campus organizations and resources that we are happy to recommend and direct students toward. I often take my students to lunch or out for an afternoon snack or beverage so we can talk about how things are going for them. I touch base with my freshmen at least 3 times during the semester whether they seek me out or not, just to see how they are adjusting. I also am active on both Facebook and Twitter so that I can reach students where they are most active. And I am not alone.

    1. Ms/Mr. Lengel:
      If I’m reading your post correctly, you’re at ASU? I think it is great what you are doing there. I know UA has many resources, as do most colleges, but I am beginning to think that the students are very reluctant to go use them. I think your approach is good – reaching out to “my freshmen.” I wonder if you are an exception or the rule for academic advisors?

  3. Thank you for raising awareness about this Renee — we really do need to see better support systems for college students engrained within the university and its community.

    1. Paul: The advisor in the comment below – PFLengel – works at ASU, not UA. But it sounds like you don’t feel like you got the help you needed at UA – is that true? When did you attend?

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