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Recent suicides on college campuses in Connecticut spark a call for help at the State Capitol

Connecticut

HARTFORD, Conn. (WTNH)– A beautiful, young 19-year-old UConn student was suffering so much so that the state medical examiner said she took her own life this week.

State officials identified the student as Tianyin Shang from Shanghai, China.

This is the second suicide in as many months on the Storrs campus.

Related: Cause-of-death determined for UConn student found in Mirror Lake on UConn Storrs campus

“When we see two suicides on college campuses in Connecticut in the most recent last few days, it sends to me a signal that everybody in this building needs to ban together — whether a Democrat, or Republican — and ban together to do something about what is truly an epidemic,” said State Senator Will Haskell, of Westport.

On Thursday, Senator Haskell announced the state task force charged with tackling mental health issues on college campuses is close to making its recommendations to lawmakers.

Haskell cites startling numbers from a national survey done by the National Alliance for Mental Health.

  • The survey suggests 75% of mental illnesses arise before the age of 24.
  • The National Alliance for Mental Illness survey also found that nearly 60% of students reported symptoms of anxiety.
  • And 40% are experiencing depression.

According to those national statistics, even though mental illness affects a majority of college students, only a fraction of them seek help.

Haskell points out that there still remains a stigma among young people that if they reach out for help they will be labeled that they have a problem.

Senator Haskell says it is time to recognize that it’s not a small subset of the population on college campuses, but every student is suffering in some way.

Whether its feelings of stress, loneliness, and isolation all can lead to tragedy if help isn’t available or students are too fearful to ask.

It’s estimated by the State Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services that for every person who dies by suicide, 30 others make an attempt.

Those who may be thinking about committing suicide or know someone who is should reach out to the National Suicide Prevention Hotline at (800) 273-8255.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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