Monday numbers: the continuing student suicide crisis at NC State
Seven students have died by suicide this academic year
N.C. State Professor emeritus Michael Schwalbe says there is a plan behind GOP efforts to remake the college and university accreditation process. Photo: ncsu.edu
Last week, students at North Carolina State University concluding their first week of finals learned of terrible news: two apparent student suicides.
“This is heartbreaking,” Chancellor Randy Woodson wrote in a community message Thursday. “And I know there’s little I can say to console the deep hurt or heal the immense grief felt by the family and friends of these young people and others we’ve lost this year. What I can say is that I, along with so many caring members of our community, share in this grief.”
“Please take extra care of yourselves,” Woodson wrote. “Keep an eye out for each other and be on the lookout for those around you who might need help. Don’t be afraid to intervene if you think a friend is struggling, and please don’t feel ashamed if you’re struggling.”
Such messages have become familiar on the Raleigh campus this year, where 14 students have died, half of them the result of suicide.
NC State has been encouraging students, faculty and staff to seek help through the many on-campus avenues. But an 89-page report released in February by the university’s Student Mental Health Task Force found nearly half of students who reported having suicidal thoughts received no mental health care. A 2021 UNC System report found counseling centers overwhelmed by demand, part of a nationwide youth mental health crisis exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Today, a by-the-numbers look at the crisis at NC State and beyond.
(Sources: NC State University Student Mental Health Task Force report, February 2023; UNC System report on student mental health, 2021; Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s national Youth Risk Behavior Survey and the NC Youth Risk Behavior Survey.)
14 – Student deaths so far this year at NC State
7 – Students who have died by suicide
8 – Average number of student deaths each year at NC State from 2018-2022, ranging from five to 12
3 – Average number of student deaths by suicide per year from 2018-2022, ranging from one to seven
878 – Deaths by suicide in North Carolina among people ages 15-24 from 2016-2020
28 – Percentage of students at NC State who reported symptoms severe enough to meet diagnostic criteria for anxiety, according to the Student Mental Health Task Force Report released in February
10,000 – Number of students at NC State that percentage represents, considering the university’s total enrollment of 37,000
4,400 – Number of NC State students who reported having suicidal thoughts in the last year
52 – Percentage of those students who reported receiving some sort of care for their mental health
48 – Percentage of those students who reported receiving no mental health care
$5 million – Amount the Governor’s Emergency Education Relief Fund gave the UNC System to help expand mental health services in 2021. The funding helped the UNC System launch a Mental Health First Aid training initiative.
$7.7 million – Amount the fund gave the UNC System earlier this year to help support additional student mental health services.
988 – the three-digit, nationwide phone number to connect directly to the 988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline — click here to learn more
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