Why Do College Students Kill Themselves?

Because each individual is unique there is no single reason why a student commits suicide. There are several factors, however, that may contribute to a student having suicidal thoughts. These include:

  • Major life transitions. The loss of a loved one, breaking up with a boyfriend/girlfriend, moving to a new town or school, failing an exam or course, not getting into one's choice of major, etc., are major life changes that can cause a college student to feel unloved, depressed, isolated and lonely.
  • Feelings of hopelessness and helplessness. Problems in living sometimes seem more than one can bear. No matter what is done, things do not seem to be getting better and no one seems to care or can help.
  • Negative feelings about oneself. A student who is suicidal may experience feelings of worthlessness and of being a failure. He/she may not be doing well in school or may not be excelling in academic or social areas that are of interest.
  • Wanting to end unbearable pain. Frequently, suicide is an attempt to end pain which seems unbearable or to deal with problems that seem overwhelming.
  • Alcohol and substance abuse. Alcohol is a depressant and can exacerbate depressed feelings. Alcohol and substance abuse can cause a student to lose self-control and engage in impulsive suicidal behaviors.

Depression is also a major contributing factor to suicidal thinking. Depression may result from several factors, including the recent loss of a family member or friend, disappointments in romantic relationships, failure to live up to one's own or others expectations, or a genetic predisposition.