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Mental Health & Suicide in US Colleges

VU International News and Reviews No. 119 September 10 2018

July 2019

Scholars from Harvard Medical School assessed mental health diagnoses and suicidality among over 67.000 students from 108 HE institutions. The report “The prevalence and predictors of mental health diagnoses and suicide among U.S. college students, published in Depression and Anxiety, explains the findings:

  • A greater likelihood of suicide attempts  and MH diagnoses had stress as its core cause;
  • Bisexual students were more likely to report MH diagnoses and suicidality, compared to heterosexual and gay/lesbian students. The same applied to transgenders compared to females.
  • Racial/ethnic minority students were generally less likely to report MH diagnoses relative to Whites, although the likelihood for suicidality was mixed.

Their conclusion:

“The high rate of multiple stress exposures among the U.S. college population and the high impacts of stress on MH and suicidality point to an urgent need for service utilization strategies, especially among racial/ethnic, sexual, or gender minorities. Campuses must consider student experiences to mitigate stress during this developmental period.”

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