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High Incidence of Suicidal Thinking Among College Students

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More than half of 26,000 college students who completed a Web survey said they had thought about committing suicide at least once in their lives, University of Texas at Austin researchers say.

Fifteen percent of respondents said they had seriously considered suicide, and more than 5 percent said they had actually attempted to kill themselves at least once, psychologist David J. Drum and co-authors reported Sunday in a news release to coincide with their planned presentation at the annual meeting of the American Psychological Association in Boston.

The survey of students at 70 colleges and universities was administered in the spring of 2006. It also found:

* Six percent of undergraduates and 4 percent of graduate students said they had seriously considered suicide at least once in the prior year.
* The most common reasons for suicidal thinking were: wanting relief from emotional or physical pain, problems with romantic relationships, and problems with school or academics.
* Fourteen percent of undergraduates and 8 percent of graduate students who seriously contemplated suicide in the prior year actually made a suicide attempt.
* Nineteen percent of undergraduate attempters and 28 percent of graduate attempters needed medical attention.
* Half of those who attempted suicide tried overdosing on drugs.

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