Suicide rate high among students

By Esteban Ramirez



Life for college students can be stressful and overwhelming at times, which can lead to suicide.

Therefore, with it being suicide awareness month and suicide being the second-leading cause of death for college students, CSU Bakersfield is bringing back the Candlelight Event for its second year.

“Because of the response we got, we decided to continue this event, provide the support and remind folks that we have places to get help and we have people here that care,” said CSUB Counselor Eric Lord, who is a licensed clinical social worker.

Lord said that the event got started last year as collaboration with other CSUs in the system.

The Candlelight Event is a remembrance to suicide victims, to provide support for anyone that has been impacted by mental health concerns and also to people that have thought of suicide or attempted suicide.

According to Lord, anyone is invited to come to the event. The event will be on Oct. 27 from 5:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. at the CSUB Student Union Patio. There will be food at the event.

People will light a candle, which they will put in a cup that can be decorated with a memory, the name of the person they lost or whatever the person likes. Then the candles will be arranged in a certain way. There will also be some speakers from Kern County Mental Health and Veterans Affairs. Lord will also speak, and there will be opportunities for other people to speak.

Business major Noemi Castellon, 23, said she thinks that students struggle with depression because at this point students are trying figure out what they are doing with the rest of their lives, and it can get depressing when they do same thing daily but there’s no progress.

“I think one of the biggest problems is that they have people around but they still feel alone,” Castellon said. “So, just being there to listen – not necessarily to give advice back – but just being there makes a huge difference.”

Lord said that a major reason why suicide is the second-leading cause of death among college students – only behind accidental death – is that college is a high-stress environment.

“There’s a lot riding for what’s going on for these students, so we do see an increase of suicides coming around the end of each quarter or semester, especially toward the end of the year when students are heading home,” Lord said.

Lord added that with suicide, 98 percent of the time people can see someone going through changes.

“We will see certain things like their behavioral changes occur,” he said. “They might become more irritable, or just not acting the way and the matter that they normally do.

“A lot of the times people who struggle with suicidal thoughts they feel like they are a burden and feel like they don’t belong,” he said. “A lot of people think if they are down they need to just come out of it… and the reality it’s not that simple. If you pretend this room is on fire, the floor is on fire, walls are on fire and ceiling is on fire that’s how a person feels when they are suicidal. The only thing that’s not on fire is the door and that door is suicide.”

He said he best way to help prevent suicide is getting into that person’s life a little bit more and noticing when those patterns change.