According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, between 2007 and 2017 there was an increase in the rate of suicides by 56%.
Kinzey Schreiber, a senior history major, compared the statistics to the snap of Marvel’s Thanos, who could make half of the universe disappear with a snap.
“That’s Thanos snapping us away,” she said.
She has faced undiagnosed anxiety, and though she is not personally affected by other illnesses, she recognizes it can be a major part in others' lives.
“I am shocked, and I wonder what makes the statistics that age range because there’s so many different identities that could be experienced within that … I wonder today what makes that age range what it is,” she said.
Schreiber also said she has had family and friends affected by mental illness and has become more sympathetic to those who are crucially suffering.
“I feel like hearing the statistics gives me more compassion for people … it gives me more compassion to be kinder to people. I don’t know what you’re going through, but I am able to empathize,” she said.
The other data presented from the CDC ranged specifically between the ages of 10 to 24 year olds, with other numbers that broke down into sub-statistics. In the report, it was stated that between 2007 and 2013, the youth suicide rate rose 3% per year, then between 2013 and 2017, the number rose 7%.
“It’s so sad, but I definitely believe it because of the things we see on social media or the things we have experienced,” Stephanie Cotrone, a junior tourism, hospitality and event management major, said.
She organized This Is Me: Anxiety and Depression Awareness Event at BGSU on Oct. 26. She spoke about why she ran the event but also what her experience was like with mental illness.
“I’ve actually struggled with anxiety and depression before, and I’ve had friends who have, so I really wanted to bring awareness to. (The subject) was an avenue I’ve never really explored before, so I really wanted to learn more about it,” she said.
As the event was a part of Cotrone’s honors project, she brought her interests, experiences, the things she loves and her studies together for something that would bring awareness to the BGSU community.
“Just a lot of my loves kind of combined together,” she said.
Cotrone, in her own experience of coming to university, has faced different life events, which triggered her anxiety and depression, but sought out available resources at BGSU.
“We as college students are under so much stress and craziness, that I think sometimes it gets to me,” she said.
She recommends for students to utilize the available resources on campus like the Counseling Center or Falcon Health Center. She said whether it is to speak with a counselor or medical professionals, they’re great resources if students need help.
According to Business Insider, with the increased rate at which Americans are committing suicide, Gen Z may be facing a crisis worse than that of millineals. According to the Pew Research Center, in 2017, 13% of teenagers have reported they’ve experienced at least one major depressive episode. In 2007, around the time frame some millennials were in their teenage years, the number was 8%.
In looking at the statistics, Cotrone and Schreiber highlighted media may play a major part and people are affected by what they watch, see and listen to.
“I just wish the media had more compassion for individuals with mental illness,” Schreiber said. “Positive representation of mental illness should be a thing, and not like positive because mental illness is a good thing but because it’s a thing people deal with. It’s something people go through each day and carry. I just wish everyone would just be more compassionate about it. And understand their experience is not someone else’s, even if they have the same illness or are in the same situation.”
She also said each situation can be individualistic when it comes to mental health and how others struggle with it. Yet, the outcome is an issue when someone may take their own life regardless.
“Mental health looks different to everyone. … One person’s depression may look different than another person’s depression,” she said.
As the statistics are daunting for people and the struggle with mental health is not easy, Controne said there’s always an optimistic approach.
“It does get better and there’s always another sunny day coming, even if it’s cloudy and cold outside. … My mom always tells me you're just in a season. It always passes and always gets better, especially when there’s people to help you out,” she said.
If you or someone you know is struggling with depression or has had thoughts of harming themselves or taking their own life, reach out to the Wood County Crisis Line (419-502-4673) or The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (1-800-273-8255).