Suicide exposure, awareness and attitudes in college students

Julie Cerel, Mary Chandler Bolin, Melinda M. Moore

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Scopus citations


Objective: To determine experiences about suicide and those affected by it and to determine students' attitudes, perceptions, and behavioral intentions about suicide prevention resources. Participants: 117 students (62% female, 63% undergraduate). Methods: 1000 randomly-selected students were emailed a request to complete an online survey. Results: The experience of knowing someone who has attempted or died by suicide is common for college students - 65% reported they knew someone who attempted or died by suicide. About 21.5% endorsed being 'suicide survivors,' 'personally affected' by a suicide. Undergraduate students were more likely than graduate students to see suicide as preventable. Most respondents are aware people who are suicidal show warning signs. Conclusions: Students on a college campus are likely to be exposed to suicides and suicide attempts. Supports for people exposed to suicidal behavior, targeted messaging to specific groups of students and gatekeeper training with students overall is needed on campuses.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)46-53
Number of pages8
JournalAdvances in Mental Health
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2013

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This manuscript was developed, in part, under grant number 5U79SM058441-02 from SAMHSA. The views, opinions and content of this publication are those of the authors and contributors, and do not necessarily reflect the views, opinions, or policies of CMHS, SAMHSA, or HHS, and should not be construed as such.


  • College students
  • Gatekeeper training
  • Student attitudes
  • Student awareness
  • Suicide exposure
  • Suicide survivors
  • Targetted messages

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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