University of North Florida helps combat growing suicide problem

By: Erica Bennett , Action News Jax

Updated:

College a life-changing experience. There are exams, pressure to excel, relationship woes and more.

That's why experts aren't surprised by the newest data.

“Suicide is one of the leading causes of death in college students. It’s actually No. 2 and in any given year, one out of every four adults can be diagnosed with a mental illness,” Dr. Kathryn Esquer said.

Dr. Esquer is a psychologist at the University of North Florida's Counseling Center. The center offers individual and group therapy, psychiatric services and medication management just to name a few.

“Sometimes you need to talk to someone and it's easy access to go in here in between classes and what not,” student Joe Gennusa said.


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The numbers from national data on campus suicide and depression are staggering.

According to American College Health Association, suicide rate among young adults ages 15-24 has tripled since the 1950's. Seventy-five percent of students who are struggling do not seek treatment.

“A lot of providers out here in the community as well as here at the counseling center offer free consultations,” Dr. Esquer explained.

Esquer says we still have a long way to go when it comes to mental health and stigma but, she says we all have to try to do our part.

“Would you tell someone with cancer just to get over it? Mental illness is a real illness. It’s both biological. Bio, psycho-social."

Here’s a breakdown of UNF’s Counseling Center:

Staff

6 psychologists

8 counselors

1 psychiatrist

2 psychiatric nurse practitioners

1 registered dietitian

5 interns

Services

Individual therapy

Group therapy

Art therapy

Nutrition counseling

Psychiatric services

Emergency sessions for students in crisis – at center between 8 am – 5 pm

24-hour hotline for students to speak with a counselor on the phone

For more information, visit: https://www.unf.edu/counseling-center/


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