The GW community has lost three of its members in the past two years to suicide, which is increasingly prevalent among young adults.
Jamie Moore, a 24-year-old alumna was found dead in her car in July, and the 30-year-old women’s volleyball coach was found dead in her home in August 2000.
Moore crawled into the trunk of her car in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., after taking prescription drugs, while Yvette Moore’s cause of death in her Arlington, Va., home is undisclosed.
Suicide is the third leading cause of death for young people aged 15 to 24, according to the Center for Disease Control. Nearly three out of five suicides in 1998 were committed with a firearm, and white males accounted for 73 percent of all suicides.
University counselor Ann Mauldin said college students are susceptible because students are in a new environment.
“It’s the time of your life when you’re away from your family and support systems,” she said.
It is a college student’s responsibility to balance a busy schedule and make commitments while meeting expectations from parents, she said.
Mauldin said depression and substance abuse often lead to suicide. They also prevent people from seeking help in more healthy ways.
“Alcohol and drug use is particularly worrisome because they are correlated with suicide,” Mauldin said. “Regular use can be used to medicate those problems. It feels better in short term but keeps problems from being worked out.”
Drug and alcohol abuse are dangerous because they increase chances of impulsive behavior, she said, and suicide is sometimes an impulsive decision.
“The main adjective that is correlated with suicide is hopelessness,” Mauldin said. Students think things are not going to get better, filled with a kind of an exhaustion, helplessness and a feeling that there is nowhere to turn.
The means of suicide is just the last detail of a long and painful process, Mauldin said, and is less significant in the realm of what happened.
The counselor’s advice for students with suicidal thoughts is to resist the natural tendency to withdraw from others and seek help from a friend, counselor, professor or family member.
GW counselors typically see students for a short period of time and can refer them to others in the community for further help. The Counseling Center offers individual and group therapy sessions. Students can get more information at gwired.gwu.edu/counsel.
“Any reference to not wanting to be around anymore or wanting to hurt yourself should be taken seriously,” Mauldin said. “It’s risky business; you never know.”