Suicide on Campus

While this article’s main focus is on suicide, the lenses through which it interprets the issue bring to bear ¬†two pervasive problems in our society. The first being the over-involvement and -investment of parents in their children’s lives. And the second being the falsehoods presented by social media and the corresponding way that people carry and perceive themselves. These issues in tandem put pressures on students that are difficult to handle.

Despite mainly discussing college-level students, these problems also present themselves at the secondary and even elementary school levels. As teachers, I believe that the way we can address this problem is by working as positive forces in the lives of our students and actively working to against negative cultural influences. I am not advocating getting rid of social media or of discouraging parental involvement, instead, we should approach these cultural influences and harness their strengths. By modeling the use of  social media to build people up and closer together rather than strengthen invisible divides we can provide students with a means of advocating for themselves. Similarly, by involving parents in candid discussions about the benefits of productive failure (not of a course, but of specific tasks/assignments/opportunities) and working in tandem to help students improve in the face of failure we can help students to develop a healthy perspective on learning and success. In doing all of this we should also encourage students to participate in activities that build, reinforce, and deepen their internal and individual senses of self-worth.