UC-Santa Barbara has noticed a spike in student suicide attempts, the Daily Nexus reports. Counseling services on campus reported four suicide attempts this quarter (starting January 5) and recorded a 22 percent increase between 2006 and 2007.
There is only speculation about why the numbers have gone up (the economy, the September 11 attacks), but officials stress that there is a difference between suicide and suicide attempts. "Out of the UCs, we have fewer suicides," counseling services director Jeanne Stanford said. "What we've seen here, though, is an increase in suicide attempts and an increase in people thinking about suicide."
Budget cuts most likely aren't helping the situation. A proposal for a suicide prevention program has been tabled, and an effort to hire more counselors to bring the psychologist-to-student ratio closer to 1 to 1,500, rather than the current 1 to 1,900, has also gone nowhere of late. Instead, the school has set up a 24-hour suicide prevention hotline and will continue to rely on student health services, which houses two social workers, a full medical staff, and a psychiatry program.