This is an exciting time of year as many high school students graduate and college admission letters hit mailboxes. After the summer of parties and preparations, it’s important to think about the transition to life after high school. Moving away from home for the first time and starting college can contribute to high stress and affect your mental health.
Did you know that 18-24 year-olds think about suicide more often than any other age group? Even for the students who never experience suicidal feelings, excessive stress and general mental health resources on campus can be a concern. It’s important to take care of yourself and your friends.
Here are three things you should know:
- Know your campus health center.
Services are usually free, even counseling. If you are going through something difficult, and don’t feel like you can talk it about with family or friends, I encourage you to take advantage of the mental health services on campus. Personally, when I was having a hard time in school I didn’t feel anybody understood how I felt. So I went to counseling and it helped me out of a painful experience.
- Know that you can ask someone if they are thinking about suicide.
This can make a big difference for a student having a difficult time adjusting or feeling isolated, and they’ll appreciate that someone cared enough to ask. Kudos to Boston University for understanding the importance of checking in for mental health: This photo shows the Dean of Students Office calling each of its 4,000 freshmen on campus to see how they’re adjusting.
- Know the resources and warning signs of suicide.
ULifeline is an anonymous, confidential, online resource center, where college students can be comfortable searching for the information they need and want regarding emotional health. The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is a 24-hour, confidential suicide prevention hotline available to anyone in suicidal crisis or emotional distress. By dialing 1-800-273-TALK (8255), the call is routed to the nearest crisis center in a national network, providing crisis counseling and mental health referrals day and night.