Report: 6 Local College Suicides This School Year

With the confirmed suicide of Boston College sophomore Michael Gannon on Saturday, the Boston Globe also reports a distressing figure:

It marked the sixth reported suicide of a college student in Boston and Cambridge this academic year.

In addition to two suicides at MIT last fall, four students committed suicide in the month of April: Gannon at BC; and students at Harvard, Suffolk and Boston universities.

"April, May and December is when we tend to see spikes in suicides on campuses," Chris Brownson, director of the counseling and mental health center at the University of Texas at Austin, told the Globe.

To the Globe, Brownson indicated that end-of-semester pressures may contribute to students' struggles.

Last fall, Radio Boston discussed the far-reaching issue of student suicide. Said host Meghna Chakrabarti:

When a national survey asked universities if they’re seeing an increase in the number and severity of students with mental health problems, a staggering 90 percent said yes.

The series of student suicides last month coincides with the annual Massachusetts Suicide Prevention Conference, which occurred Wednesday. The state Department of Public Health urged "anyone interested in preventing self-harm and suicide," including educators and school administrators, to attend.

On their websites, colleges have resources for those seeking help, and Tufts University, for one, has suggestions for spotting warning signs and what to do to help a student in distress.

This program aired on May 3, 2012. The audio for this program is not available.

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Benjamin Swasey Digital Manager
Ben is WBUR's digital news manager.



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