Website Provides Resource for Suicide Prevention

(U-WIRE) LONG BEACH, Calif. – Over the past 50 years, colleges and universities have seen a dramatic increase in the number of student suicides. Faced with this increase, many higher-level learning facilities are offering new methods of obtaining mental health counseling. A Web site known as Ulifeline.org has started to receive a great amount of attention from many major universities. More than 80 universities have signed up to receive a link to the Web site. The site provides students with the ability to remain anonymous while giving them specific information on mental health issues. According to CNN, the suicide rate of people between the ages of 15 and 24 has tripled since the 1950s. Currently out of every 100,000 deaths, 9.9 are due to suicides. Martin Fiebert, professor of clinical psychology at California State University at Long Beach, said he believes the rise in suicides can be attributed to many factors but mostly is the result of culturally sanctioned identities. According to Fiebert, in today’s world there are many models on how to live available to students, as well as a much larger student population, and because of these factors many people often struggle with feelings of being hopeless or lost. “A Web site [such as Ulifeline.org] can serve an important function,” Fiebert. “But the person must be seeking help.” People who are worried about a friend or family member, as well as students wanting to learn about mental health issues can also utilize the Web site. “I used the Web site to look up information on psychological research, and it was extremely helpful,” said Jeanette Chapleau, a freshman. Ulifeline.org is a program offered by the Jed Foundation, which was created by Phil and Donna Satow. The foundation was started after the Satow’s 20-year-old son Jed took his life by hanging himself. Many of the young man’s friends were not aware of the warning signs that he was providing, and they pushed for the Internet site to be created. According to Fiebert, suicidal thoughts are not uncommon. They usually occur during times of stress or illness. Suicide is also more common in young adults because many are separating themselves from their families and learning to live alone. This can cause feelings of worthlessness, loneliness and hopelessness.