Suicide is SECOND leading cause of Death in college-age students *Los estudiantes universitarios de suicidio
Suicide is the second leading cause of death in college-age students. In a recent study, one in ten students admitted to having considered suicide.
My name is Conner Mertens. I am a sophomore at Willamette University and a placekicker for the Willamette Bearcats. Last year, I became the first active college football player, at any level, to publicly come out about my sexuality. Before doing this, I felt isolated by my secret. I had to constantly watch what I said and how I behaved, and endure the normal locker room culture that often included homophobic language and behavior.
In those moments of profound loneliness, I wanted help, but felt I needed to steer clear of anything that, at the time, I thought made me seem weak (therapists, school counselors, etc.) Had I known then about an anonymous, judgment-free hotline I could call to get the help I so desperately needed, I might not have felt that same self-loathing, isolation.
Still, I was lucky. When I finally decided to be true to myself and come out publicly, my coach, team and entire school rallied behind me. I finally had my depression under control. Unfortunately, many college students don’t get this relief, and too many of them choose a permanent solution to this temporary problem by taking their life.
That’s why I am asking two of America’s largest university systems, the University of California and California State University, to include suicide hotline numbers on their student IDs. Let’s make it a little easier for those in need to find help.
I now have a public platform to make change. News organizations like Fox Sports, SB Nation and USA Today have interviewed me, and I am so glad to be able to show others that it’s ok to be yourself. But I want to take it further.
By putting suicide hotline numbers on student IDs across the country, we can provide students a much-needed outlet for their struggles. Join me in asking the UC and CSU systems to set an example for the rest of America’s universities. Sign my petition asking them to put suicide hotlines on student IDs.
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Colleges are experiencing a growing number of suicides and crime. Many students do not feel they have anywhere to turn. This problem is everyone’s problem. This is not a job for our Government, they are to slow and these issues are urgent now. We have to get involved at the street level in our communities to identify the real issues. We work collectively to push for change. Grassroots efforts can effect change much quicker.