Depression and other psychiatric disorders in college students is said to be on the rise. Research suggests that mental illness is more prevalent among college students than one decade ago. In fact, suicide is the 3rd leading cause of death among 15-24-year-olds and the 2nd leading cause of death among college students.
On November 30, 2012 a college student (Michael English) hanged himself in the D.C. county jail. His family sought help multiple times from authorities, sometimes even asking for protection against Michael. He was arrested in October 2012 for stabbing his best friend. During this time, English had received a mental health evaluation that his family hoped would get him the help he truly needed. After reading the story’s details it is obvious that his family felt helpless to obtain the necessary mental health services that this young man needed. Police in Washington, D.C. are now investigating what has been ruled a suicide by hanging, the first suicide in the D.C. jail since 2009.
After English’s father pleaded for mental health services for his son, Michael was released from jail, for sexually assaulting a toddler, and was back on the street, homeless. While on probation, according to records, he used illegal drugs and failed to wear his location-monitoring device various times. He also said he was going to stab someone, a threat police say he later carried out when he attacked his friend. His mother, Margaret English, stated that her son’s death is “an example of how difficult it can be to help someone with a pronounced mental illness, even when family members and criminal-justice workers know the person is a danger to society and himself.”
This story resembles too many incidents involving college students, college “dropouts,” and young men either seeking to harm themselves and society or both. This pattern of potentially dangerous homicidal and self injurious behavior is becoming an epidemic.
Check out http://www.treatmentadvocacycenter.org/ for further information on how serious this “epidemic” is becoming. If we don’t educate ourselves to the importance of mental health and providing/seeking services when necessary, our future is going to become more grim. Mental illness doesn’t just affect the individual suffering from it, but those closest to the individual and sometimes even society.
One voice, one touched heart can lead to many open doors, greater knowledge, and resources for needy families.