Suicide rate among young adults on the rise

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COLUMBIA- According to The Missouri Institute on Mental Health, Missouri is ranked 18th in the country for the highest suicide rate.  A rate of 15.88 per 1,000 people died from suicide in Missouri.  The national average is 13.02 per 1,000 people.  

For young adults (ages 15-24), suicide was the second leading cause of death in 2013.  Suicides accounted 17 percent of all deaths in young adults.

 Ashley Guerrieri, a volunteer at the Missouri Crisis Hotline, said she thinks there's a lot of pressure to succeed as a young adult on a college campus.

"You're in college, you're expected to do well in school, plan for your future, be social, and be involved.  I think sometimes young adults compare themselves to others too much and when they feel like they're not performing at the same level, they panic.  It's a really difficult time."

The Missouri Institute on Mental Health reported that 15 perfect of Missouri college students experienced suicidal thoughts in the 12 months prior to the 2014 Missouri College Health Behavior Survey. 

Morgan Robben, a junior at The University of Missouri, lost her best friend to suicide this summer.  Robben was among a group of close friends when they discovered their friend's body in a hotel room in Chicago.

"That is an image that I can never unsee.  It is with me forever.  I think people who have suicidal thoughts see it as a solution for themselves, but forget how much it's going to hurt their loved ones and how it's going to be with them for the rest of their lives."

Robben and her friend had been journaling for the past year or so and to this day she is unable to bring herself to crack open the cover of her friend's journal.

"To this day nobody is going to read that.  It's hard even if there's answers.  It needs to be at peace."

David Wallace, Ph.D, is the director of the Counseling Center for The University of Missouri.  He said that promoting resources in the community is key in prevention.

"It takes an average of six sessions to get someone with suicidal thoughts to a place where they're not considering ending their life, but getting them in and making sure they know the help is available is key.  You can't get help if you don't know what you can do."  

Guerrieri added, "We get a lot of calls from young adults and I think it's crucial for us to educate them on the resources and people out there that can help them, there's so many."

Robben said she wants people to know life gets better.

"I think people who are in such a dark, low place, forget that once you've hit rock bottom, it can only go up from there.  Suicide isn't something that we should have to worry about as college kids or as young adults." 

If you or someone you know is struggling with suicide you can call the Missouri Crisis Hotline at 573-445-5035 or The MU Counseling Center at 573-882-6601.

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