Teen Suicide: Crisis on Campus

Student suicides: Be an educated parent.

An infographic by the team at College Degree Search

Hard numbers:
6 % of undergraduates and 4 percent of graduate students in 4-year colleges have “seriously considered attempting suicide” in the past year—and nearly half of each group did not tell anyone.
3X: The suicide rate among young adults, ages 15-24, has tripled since the 1950s and Suicide is currently the 2nd most common cause of death among college students.
1,100: number of suicides that occur at colleges every year – that’s roughly 7.5 per 100,000 students. 1 in 12: number of college students who have actually made a suicide plan at some point 1.5: number of college students out of every 100 who have actually attempted it.
2X as many young men, ages 20-24, commit suicide, compared with young women.
In the past 50 years, the suicide rate for those age 15-24 increased by over 200%.
12 people aged 15-24 will commit suicide today – that is one about every two hours.


Caucasians account for over 90% of all completed suicides.
2X: though Caucasians are twice as likely to commit suicide as African Americans; the rate of suicide is growing faster among young African Americans than among Caucasians.
Suicide rates from 1980-1995 increased 93% for African American females (age 15-24) and 214% for African American males (age 15-24).
Native Americans have the highest suicide rate among all 15-24 year olds.
Asian American women have the highest suicide rates among women ages 15 to 24.
Men commit suicide more than four times as often as women, but women attempt suicide about three times as often as men.
Suicide by firearm is the most common method for both men and women.

FACT: The emotional health of college freshmen — who feel buffeted by the recession and stressed by the pressures of high school — has declined to the lowest level since an annual survey of incoming students started collecting data 25 years ago.
The percentage of students who said their emotional health was above average fell to 52 percent.
It was 64 percent in 1985.

Campus stress producers
• Cost: Financial pressure, tuition plus room and board, is a huge stress-inducer.
• Competitiveness: How academically rigorous is the school?
• Acceptance rate: More competitive schools generally produce a more competitive student body.
• Crime on campus: is it safe?
• It’s the economy, stupid: has added to the stress, not just because of financial pressures on their parents but also because the students are worried about their own college debt and job prospects when they graduate.

5 Most Stressful Universities
5. Northwestern University Undergraduate Enrollment: 9,660 Total Price per Year: $58,829 Percent of Students Receiving Financial Aid: 51 percent Average Amount of Financial Aid: $23,337 Average of Financial Aid as Percentage of Total Price: 49 percent Percent of Applicants Admitted: 23 percent Crime Rank (among top 25): 23
4. Harvard University Undergraduate Enrollment: 10,277 Total Price per Year: $56,000 Percent of Students Receiving Financial Aid: 47 percent Average Amount of Financial Aid: $33,276 Average of Financial Aid as Percentage of Total Price: 59 percent Percent of Applicants Admitted: 6 percent Crime Rank (among top 25): 13
3. Columbia University in the City of New York Undergraduate Enrollment: 8,184 Total Price per Year: $59,208 Percent of Students Receiving Financial Aid: 50 percent Average Amount of Financial Aid: $31,796 Average of Financial Aid as Percentage of Total Price: 54 percent Percent of Applicants Admitted: 10 percent Crime Rank (among top 25):
2. University of Pennsylvania Undergraduate Enrollment: 11,852 Total Price per Year: $57,360 Percent of Students Receiving Financial Aid: 50 percent Average Amount of Financial Aid: $25,952 Average of Financial Aid as Percentage of Total Price: 45 percent Percent of Applicants Admitted: 12 percent Crime Rank (among top 25): 9
1. Washington University in St Louis Undergraduate Enrollment: 7,303 Total Price per Year: $58,901 Percent of Students Receiving Financial Aid: 50 percent Average Amount of Financial Aid: $23,963 Average of Financial Aid as Percentage of Total Price: 41 percent Percent of Applicants Admitted: 17 percent Crime Rank (among top 25): 6

Sizing up the risk factors include:
Prior history of suicidal behavior
Family history of suicide or suicide attempts
Suicidal behavior of a friend or colleague
Mental health problems like depression or substance abuse
Family history of depression or substance abuse
Easy access to lethal methods (like firearms)
Interpersonal isolation
Impulsive, aggressive or antisocial behaviors
History of abuse or family violence
Some common warning signs are when student:
Talks about suicide, death or having no reason to live
Is preoccupied with death and dying
Has trouble eating or sleeping
Experiences drastic changes in behavior
Withdraws from friends or social activities
Loses interest in hobbies, work, school, etc
Prepares for death by making out a will and final arrangements
Gives away prized possessions
Takes unnecessary risks
Relationship difficulties including a recent loss or threat of significant loss
Loses interest in their personal appearance
Increases their use of alcohol or drugs
Expresses a sense of hopelessness
Is faced with a situation of humiliation or failure
Performance difficulties
Legal or financial trouble
Is unwilling to “connect” with potential helpers

In America, someone attempts suicide once every minute, and someone completes a suicide once every 17 minutes. Throughout the world, approximately 2,000 people kill themselves each day.

What can parents do?
Stay in touch with your college kid. Freshmen especially need to know that the family support they relied on through childhood is still there, even long distance
Chat by phone, IM or Skype
Send care packages
Visit occasionally
Be a calming voice when things get rough
Do not undervalue the importance of sleep, diet, exercise and de-stressing activities
Familiarize yourself with the student health and mental health services available on campus, so you can remind your child of the support available on campus
Be sensitive to the signs of stress
What is being done to combat college student suicide:
The Garrett Lee Smith Memorial Act (GLSMA) is the first piece of legislation to provide federal funds specifically for youth, adolescent and college age suicide prevention. Included in the bill is $31 million for over five years to fund the matching-grant programs for colleges and universities to help raise awareness about youth suicide
The Campus Suicide Prevention Grants program supports colleges and universities in their efforts to prevent suicide among students and to enhance services for students with depression, substance abuse, and other behavioral health problems that put them at risk of suicide.
The National Action Alliance for Suicide Prevention is taking action on a broader scale. With this public/private partnership, leaders from Government, business, the advocacy community, and other groups are working together to advance the National Strategy for Suicide Prevention.
National Graduate Student Crisis Line, offers immediate help for grads in crisis 1-800-GRAD-HLP (1-800-472-3457)


Parents Universal Resource Experts – Sue Scheff: Dangers of Digital Dieting and Teens

It is not a secret, being healthy is good for you.  Society dictates that being thin is in, however we need to understand that being healthy is priority.  Thin for one person may not be the same as it is for another. 

Teenagers surf the net more than ever and what they are finding can be educational but it can also be harmful to their health.  There are actually sites that promote anorexia and show your teens how to hide this deadly disorder.

Parents should also be aware of what their kids may be exposed to online – and the websites that promote dangerous and destructive dieting. The best Internet filter is the one that runs in teens’ heads – not any filter a parent may install on a home computer. Talk with your children about dangerous and inappropriate sites and keep the lines of communication open so that they might come to you when they encounter destructive information and images online. – Connect with Kids

The National Eating Disorders Association offers these tips for kids on eating well and feeling good about themselves:

  • Eat when you are hungry. Stop eating when you are full.
  • All foods can be part of healthy eating. There are no “good” or “bad” foods, so try to eat lots of different foods, including fruits, vegetables, and even sweets sometimes.
  • When having a snack try to eat different types.
  • If you are sad or mad or have nothing to do-and you are not really hungry find something to do other than eating.
  • Remember: kids and adults who exercise and stay active are healthier and better able to do what they want to do, no matter what they weigh or how they look.
  • Try to find a sport or an activity that you like and do it! Join a team, join the YMCA, join in with a friend or even practice by yourself

Broward County takes a closer look at obesity in children.

Be an educated parent, you will have healthier and safer teens.

Read more.

Parents Universal Resource Experts – Sue Scheff: Losing in America – Unemployment rising, should your teen pursue their goal or choose a job in demand

It is that time of the year again. Parents of teenagers graduating from high school or college are facing career decisions. What about taking a “gap year“? With today’s high unemployment should your teen consider a job that is in demand rather than going for their dream job?

What is best for your child and their goals?

  • 2-year college
  • 4-year college
  • Vocational School/Tech School
  • Grad School
  • State, private or community college

There isn’t a right or wrong answer, it is an individual choice depending on what is best both financially and professionally for your teen.

Pursuing your dreams versus choosing a career where jobs are plentiful. What do you say when your child’s dream is not practical? How can parents help their children choose a career path that is successful and rewarding.

  • Encourage your child to explore his or her options. Be supportive by asking your child, “Can I help you get connected?” or “Can I help you with researching a career?”
  • You need to remember this is not your career decision. Have trust in your child and be supportive, yet informative.
  • The world of work has changed since many parents made their first career choice. So some parents need to realize some of their information might be outdated.
  • Direct your child to resources where he or she can research his or her desired career.

Reference: Connect with Kids

As a parent, we always want our children to be happy. Helping your child find their ideal job may take longer than usual in today’s economy, however loving what you do in life can be priceless. In Florida Career Builders of Florida and College Grad in Florida may offer you further assistance in finding the perfect career for your teen.

Be an educated parent, you will be prepared and your children will have a bright future. Read more.

Related articles:

Hot Tips for Teens Looking for Jobs
Gap Smart: Should Your Teen Take a Year Off?
Parents Universal Resource Experts
Summer Jobs for Teens
College Visit Tips

Parents Universal Resource Experts – Sue Scheff: Text Messages that Harm – Update on Josie Ratley

When tragedy hits our community, it can be a shocking and stunning  event that brings everyone together. The beating of Josie Lou Ratley, Michael Brewer who was nearly burned to death by other teens, Anthony Jones  in Duval County, who was shot after being a victim of text hit lists that were flying, and Cameron Lee Kage who is accused of making a bomb to set off at his school in Brevard County,  all are part of a wake-up call to what our schools and teens are facing today.

Text RAGE is exploding and it is time that schools, teachers, parents and students along with their community ban together to stop this bullying and violence.

The text messages were recently revealed that prompted 15 year-old Wayne Treacy to literally beat Josie Ratley, an eighth grader, nearly to death.  After three surgeries, she is in rehabilitation.  

Just hours prior the brutal beating of Josie Lou Ratley, vicious text messages were flying. According to the Sun-Sentinel, “Snap her neck then stomp her skull. Fastest way I could think of,” read one of the texts, which were released Wednesday in discovery in the court case against 15 year-old Wayne Treacy.

Another text message sent from Treacy’s phone prior to the beating reads: “This bxtch ran her mouth bout my bro who she knew is dead. Nao I want her head.”

These texts prompted one of the most heinous forms of teen violence.  Wayne Treacy, allegedly, with the help of his girlfriend, 13 year-old Kayla Manson, tracked down Josie Ratley and carried out what his text stated.  With steel toed boots, he stomped her skull.  Thankfully teacher Walter Welsh intervened just in time.

Whether you are in Broward, Dade, Palm Beach, Brevard, St. John’s or Duval County, you need to learn more about your school climate

When bad things happen to good people, we need to take the bad and find the positive.  Education is key to prevention of violence.  Take the time to form an anti-bullying organization and measure your School Climate by contacting The Center for Social and Emotional Education

Related articles:

Myths of Bullying
Bullying Bystanders or Bullying Busters
Michael Brewer a Voice of Determination to Stop School Violence
Dangers of Texting and Sexting

Parents Universal Resource Experts – Sue Scheff: Summer Job Hunting Tips for Teens

With today’s economy and more importantly to help teach your teenager responsibility it is beneficial for many teens to get a summer job.  What can be difficult is many adults are now accepting employment where teens used to get jobs due to the financial struggles many are having.

How can teens get jobs?  Here are some great tips from Quintessential Careers to help you land a summer job:

  • Always avoided your parent’s friends? Now’s the time to get to know them better. Networking — talking — with as many adults (family, friends, neigborhors, etc.) as you can is best way to find a job, any job. Learn more about the power of networking.
  • You thought school was over? Think again. Now is the time to learn all you need about job-hunting because it’s going to be harder than ever before to get a job. Learn more about job-hunting basics.
  • How’s your spelling and grammar? Better brush up. Take the time to prepare or update your resume — you’ll need it when you go on job interviews. Check out these resume resources and sample resumes.
  • Put away those short skirts and thrift-store clothes. When you talk with potential employers, you need to dress your best and look professional, not like you’re going on a date or lounging around the house. Learn how to dress for success.
  • Turn off the television or video games and hit the street. A good way to look for summer jobs is going to the human resources department or manager of as many stores and offices in your town. Dress professionally and bring lots of copies of your resume.
  • Thought you were done competing with your older siblings? Nope. Teens are being squeezed out of traditional jobs this summer as more experienced workers are forced to take whatever jobs they can find.
  • If you love the outdoors, you may have better luck. As summer tourism picks up, there will be jobs in water parks, camps, and other hospitality-related companies and organizations.
  • Love the Net? Then use it — to a point. There are a number of teen summer job and camp sites, but don’t make this method your sole method of job-hunting. Check out these teen summer job sites.
  • No matter how bad it gets, keep smiling. Studies show employers look for these things in teens: enthusiasm, positive attitude, hard-working, friendly, and on-time.

What do Employers Look for in Teens

Employers want motivated teens who are going to arrive to work on time, have a positive attitude, work hard, work well with others, show leadership qualities, work their full shift, and do the best job they can. You need to show your employer that you are a good investment, both for the current position, as well as for any potential future positions.

Final Words of Advice

Jobs are jobs. You are going to have to work, no matter how “cool” the job or company, so be prepared for some days to not be as great as others. The keys to remember are that you are earning money, you are gaining experience, and you are making good contacts (and references)!

Time to hit the pavement or your keyboard!

Dr. Randall S. Hansen is founder of Quintessential Careers, one of the oldest and most comprehensive career development sites on the Web, as well CEO of EmpoweringSites.com.  Also check out his job and career resources for teenagers.

Is your teen interested in the water?  Pools, beaches and camps – Check out Red Cross Lifeguarding Certifications Read more.

Read more  about tips and hints to find jobs this summer.

Parents Universal Resource Experts – Sue Scheff: Sex, Tech and Teens

S-E-X, this is one of the most difficult and sensitive subjects parents dread to talk to their kids about, but it is also just as critical.  Now let’s compound it with technology and teens and we can create sexting!

The National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy and Cosmo Girl have recently released the results of a new survey.  Results from this new survey show that 21% of teen girls and 18% of teen boys have sent/ posted nude or semi-nude images of themselves. What is going on with teens, tech, and sex?

Tips for parents from the National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy include:

1. Talk to your kids about what they are doing in cyberspace. Just as you need to talk openly and honestly with your kids about real life sex and relationships, you also want to discuss online and cell phone activity. Read more.

2. Know who your kids are communicating with. Of course it’s a given that you want to know who your children are spending time with when they leave the house. Read more.

3. Consider limitations on electronic communication.The days of having to talk on the phone in the kitchen in front of the whole family are long gone, but you can still limit the time your kids spend online and on the phone. Read more.

4. Be aware of what your teens are posting publicly. Check out your teen’s MySpace, Facebook and other public online profiles from time to time. This isn’t snooping-this is information your kids are making public. Read more.

5. Set expectations. Make sure you are clear with your teen about what you consider appropriate “electronic” behavior. Read more.

More articles of interest:

Should you read your teen’s diary?
Should you read your teen’s emails and text messages?
Is honestly the best policy?
Not my kid

Nastygrams: Think before you send
In Florida, SafeFlorida.net was created to help prevent cyber crimes, educate parents, assist teens and more in the growing digital cyberspace.

Learn what teens need to know!

Be an educated parent, you will have safer teens.  Read more.