Philadelphia Inquirer: The Pain of Campus Suicide

Philadelphia Inquirer: The Pain of Campus Suicide

Question: If you have (or are) a college student, what is your college doing to address this issue? This sobering article, with alarming statistics and tragic examples, appeared originally in the Philadelphia Inqurier, and has been reprinted in the Chicago Tribune and other venues.  Excerpts follow; read more at:

Addressing suicide among seemingly successful college students

Two recent suicides at Penn and a smattering of others at college campuses over the last year – including a student who jumped off a parking garage at Pennsylvania State University in December – has brought renewed attention from administrators and talk on how to ramp up prevention and awareness. … when popular, high-achieving students, who seemingly have everything to live for, take their lives, it sends nothing short of a shock wave through their campuses and leaves families and friends grappling – even years later – for answers.

“You won’t really know what triggered this in anybody,” said Donna Ambrogi, whose son Kyle, a Penn football player, killed himself in 2005. “That’s the hardest part for families.”


When a student commits suicide, it’s often the result of multiple factors, said Victor Schwartz, a psychiatrist and medical director for the Jed Foundation, a New York-based suicide-prevention group aimed at college students. “It’s more often personal- and family-relationship disruption,” he said. “In many cases, alcohol or other substances are involved.”

College age, he said, is also the time when many mental illnesses, including depression and schizophrenia, surface. Up to 90 percent of suicide victims have a diagnosable psychiatric condition, he said. In addition, students are learning independence, testing boundaries, and discovering sexual identity.

“For most people who die by suicide, there is some underlying vulnerability, then some triggering, stressful situation,” said Mary E. Kelly, lead psychologist and suicide-prevention specialist at Rutgers University, which was rocked by the 2010 suicide of freshman Tyler Clementi.


The statistics

Colleges aren’t required to report suicides, so the problem is hard to track.  Penn officials said they don’t know how many students died of suicide over the last five years.  “The university doesn’t keep records like that,” said spokesman Ron Ozio.

About 7 percent of students nationally report having experienced suicidal thoughts in the last 12 months, statistics show. About 1 percent attempt suicide.

Suicide is the second-leading cause of death for college students.

National statistics show that 6.5 college students per 100,000 commit suicide annually, a rate that has declined slightly since 1990. The rate for college students is only about half that of noncollege students that age.

 Warning Signs for Suicide

 Talking about wanting to die.

Talking about feeling hopeless or having no reason to live.

Talking about feeling trapped or in unbearable pain.

Talking about being a burden to others.

Increasing the use of alcohol or drugs.

Acting anxious or agitated.

Sleeping too little or too much.

Withdrawing or isolating.

Showing rage or talking about seeking revenge.

Displaying extreme mood swings.

What to do if someone exhibits warning signs

Do not leave the person alone.

Remove any firearms, alcohol, drugs, or sharp objects that could be used in a suicide attempt.

Call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255).

Take the person to an emergency room or seek help from a medical or mental health professional.

SOURCE: National Suicide Prevention Lifeline

215-854-4693 @ssnyderinq





NPR: New Study Shows Brain Benefits Of Bilingualism

NPR: New Study Shows Brain Benefits Of Bilingualism

New Study Shows Brain Benefits Of Bilingualism

The largest study so far to ask whether speaking two languages might delay the onset of dementia symptoms in bilingual patients as compared to monolingual patients has reported a robust result. Bilingual patients suffer dementia onset an average of 4.5 years later than those who speak only a single language.

While knowledge of a protective effect of bilingualism isn’t entirely new, the present study significantly advances scientists’ knowledge. Media reports emphasize the size of its cohort: 648 patients from a university hospital’s memory clinic, including 391 who were bilingual. It’s also touted as the first study to reveal that bilingual people who are illiterate derive the same benefit from speaking two languages as do people who read and write. It also claims to show that the benefit applies not only to Alzheimer’s sufferers but also people with frontotemporal and vascular dementia.


Being bilingual opens up new worlds of global connection and understanding, and almost certainly allows some degree of flexibility in personal expression, too.

Now we know, more concretely and convincingly than before, that there’s a brain benefit to bilingualism, too.

Read more at:

Highlights from a string of transplant updates:


From Lynn Paige:  Eric just went back to the OR. Doctors should be putting in 2 other lines to monitor his blood pressure and breathing. Surgery is expected to last about 8 hours.

Dave’s surgery is going well, and should be done soon.  So now we wait.

From Ellen Vaughn, Eric’s daughter:  He’s going to the OR! Now they will do some more prep, stick a few more tubes in him, and then it will be time.

Nurses and Residents were thanking Daddy for being so patient today (he’s been in the pre-op room for 6 hours) and he replied, “I’ve waited 8 years, what’s a few more hours?”

My Comment:  “Sounds T-Totally like Eric!”

 From Angie Malcomson (Dave’s wife):  Just took Eric Paige back to prep him. That means the doctors should be almost done removing Dave’s kidney. Thank you to everyone for all your prayers. Thank you Elaine Petry and Margo for bringing the snacks. Thanks Johnny O. and Shari Whitby for sitting with us.

I’ll post an update as soon as the doctor comes out.

From Edna Paige (Eric’s mother):  Here is a late morning report: Dave is in surgery now. Eric will be getting all his tubes etc and be going in about noon. The transfer will happen this afternoon.

Wonder of wonders, we have our own waiting room. Ladies from the church brought in snacks. Need I say, the 3:30 wake up time was the middle of the night for me.

From Dave Malcomson (no doubt a milli-second before they grabbed his phone!)

Let’s do this! — at Rush University Medical Center.

My comment: “This is SO “Totally Dave” — up & at ’em!”

Transplant Update

Dave Malcomson’s surgery scheduled to begin at this hour — please join me in prayer!

And from Lynn Paige:

We left the house this morning at 4:30 and arrived at the hospital at 5:15. At 5:30 our families and friends met privately for prayer.

Dave and Eric were both prepped for surgery. We have waited with them in pre-op. Dave was just taken back at 8:45.

The doctors will work on Dave and when they see his kidney is “as good as advertised”, they will start Eric’s surgery. They won’t remove the kidney until Eric is ready to receive it.

Eric has about two more hours to wait while they do Dave’s surgery.

Progress Report

Three weeks since surgery, a week with staples removed, healing slower than I’d like, but making forward progress — able to accomplish daily household tasks which do not involve lifting more than 9-pound Mo. I see the surgeon Monday and hope to be discharged and allowed to drive and resume normal activities. Grateful to God for healing and all blessings and to concerned friends for expressions of care and support!


Some (those who read what is posted here!) have wondered about my absence from the blogosphere for the past three weeks.  The explanation is fairly straightforward: unexpected emergency room visit followed by surgery, plus a longer-than-anticipated recovery, from which I am now, thankfully emerging.  I plan to resume soon, beginning with the re-blog of a few posts about recent eventsfrom my friend and and mentor Ferrell Jenkins.  More later!