First Mondays

By The Institute for Child Development and Family Relations, Cal State San Bernardino

Suicide Prevention and Depression in college

on February 6, 2017


On January 27th the Institute for Child Development and Family Relations (ICDFR) sponsored the event “The Truth About Suicide: Real Stories of Depression in College”. Dr. Christina Hassija led the event, Which included a presentation of current research and clinical practice, a viewing of the DVD “The Truth About Suicide: Real Stories of Depression in College” and a panel discussion of five mental health experts who answered audience questions on the important topic. This month, the ICDFR’s First Mondays blog shares information from these events, and provides resources for interested and concerned readers.


Suicide is the 3rd leading cause of death among teens and the 2nd among college students. In addition, many more students may have suicidal thoughts or attempt suicide unsuccessfully. Depression is a major risk factor for suicide. Depression is a common mental health disorder, with 18.8 million Americans suffering from depression every year. Two-thirds of people that die by suicide are depressed at the time of their death. Among those that have major depression, the risk of death by suicide is 20 times greater than those that are not depressed.

Treatment for depression is very effective; however, less than 25 percent of people with depression receive adequate care. Below are listed some ideas for self-help strategies for college students experiencing depression. The Resource section at the end of this article has contact information for assistance in addition to the self-help ideas listed here.


Self-help strategies for College students experiencing depression: 

Daily exercise, spending time outside in nature and in the sun, and eating healthy foods can help you feel better. Get enough sleep. Try to have consistent sleep habits and avoid all-night study sessions. Your counselor may teach you how to be aware of your feelings and teach you relaxation techniques. Use these when you start feeling down or upset. Avoid using drugs and at least minimize, if not totally avoid, alcohol. Break up large tasks into small ones, and do what you can as you can; try not to do too many things at once. Try to spend time with supportive family members or friends, and take advantage of campus resources, such as student support groups. Talking with your parents, guardian, or other students who listen and care about you gives you support. Get out with friends and try fun things that help you express yourself. As you recover from depression, you may find that even if you don’t feel like going out with friends, if you push yourself to do so, you’ll be able to enjoy yourself more than you thought.

How can you tell if you or someone you know is suffering from depression or in danger of committing suicide? Below are some warning signs.

Warning Signs include:

  • Talking about wanting to die or to kill oneself
  • Looking for a way to kill oneself, such as searching online or buying a gun
  • 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 and that others would be better off if one was gone
  • Increasing the use of alcohol or drugs
  • Acting anxious or agitated; behaving recklessly
  • Giving away prized possessions
  • Sleeping too little or too much
  • Withdrawing or feeling isolated
  • Showing rage or talking about seeking revenge
  • Displaying extreme mood swings

depression2What to do if you or someone you know needs help?

  • Call 911 – Stay with person until help arrives
  • Reduce access to means such as pills, weapons
  • Listen to the person – don’t judge, yell or threaten
  • Connect to Mental Heath Services



 CSUSB Counseling & Psychological Services – 909-537-5040

Community Counseling Center – 909-537-5569

Community Crisis Response Team (CCRT) a community based mobile crisis team that provides assistance to those who are experiencing a mental health related emergency

  • West Valley  Covering Fontana to Chino Hills (909) 458-1517
  • East Valley Covering Yucaipa, Redlands, Loma Linda, Colton, San Bernardino, Bloomington, East Fontana (909) 421-9233
  • High Desert Covering Victorville, Hesperia, Apple Valley, Phelan, Adelanto, Lucerne Valley, Barstow (760) 956-2345



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