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Suicide: Opportunity and Publicity

Colgate's student newspaper is running an article that rather effectively demonstrates that suicidal thoughts and tendencies are a problem throughout the country, and that there isn't anything particular about Cornell that encourages students to take their own life:

Consider the following:

According to Mark Thompson, director of Conant House, Colgate's counseling and psychological services center, there has not been a suicide on campus over the past 13 years that he has worked here; however, there are several suicide attempts every year.

"I am aware of at least three situations this [academic] year where someone has made an attempt," Thompson said. "We think about this on a continuum because there are way more people that think about suicide but have not made an attempt. Then there are other things like: was it a conscious attempt, was it an attempt at self-harm? I would be shocked if the number that happened on campus were limited to three."

So if Colgate had three attempted suicides this year, at a school known for its fun-loving liberal arts environment, just think how many actual suicides the Red Raiders might have unfortunately experienced had they happened to have two rather deep topographical features running the length of their campus?

So Cornell really suffers from a problem of suicidal publicity and opportunity. Nobody hears about suicide when it happens in the privacy of a dorm room. And more suicides will happen when a fatal plunge is the method of choice, as opposed to some pills.

I'm interested to see what the students recommend in terms of retrofitting the bridges to provide both more effective barriers that are also aesthetically pleasing. But I'm certain nobody is particularly excited about the cost.

Matthew Nagowski | Posted on April 09, 2010 (#)

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