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College students must be voices for struggling middle schoolers

Illustration by: Israel Gonzalez | Staff Illustrator

Middle school represents some of the most challenging and defining times in many of our lives. Unfortunately, those times are turning deadly, as many young teens are opting for suicide as an escape from adolescent ailments.

As college students, we tend to ignore the spike in suicide rates of the generation behind us. However, we ought to pay attention because it is now more common for children ages 10 to 14 to die by suicide than car crashes.

Though middle school days seem far and distant, it was really just yesterday we were going through our awkward stages. We experienced falling outs with friends and stressing over trying to find a date to those once-exciting middle school dances.

We each walked through the infamous middle school hallways, breathing in the pungent scent of sweaty socks and body odor, wondering if we were ever going to get through those cumbersome years.

However, those in middle school today face a whole new slew of hardships.

Social media platforms play a large role in perpetuating insecurities in adolescents, as young teens use sites and apps such as Facebook, Instagram and Twitter to passive aggressively purge their feelings and bully one another.

As college students, we understand the issues social media can create, and thus can empathize with the plight of these younger teens.

If Bobcats can reach back into their communities and speak to younger generations about the importance of coping with stress in healthy ways, they might be able to help.

Showing young teens constructive ways of working through and handling their problems is one of the best tools we can give them. The mission would be getting them to understand middle school problems and drama are not the end of the world. Students can also be walking, talking testaments of survival and proof the awkward stage passes and life goes on.

Unwanted stress does not stop in middle and high school, and only multiplies in college. If adolescents continue to believe suicide is the best way for them to escape their problems, there could potentially be a climb of suicide rates as this generation reaches our age. We should take every possible step to avoid this.

College students often have the reputation of being self centered, but we ought to take some responsibility for promoting mental health and coping skills to the ones who look up to us the most.

Always remember suicide is a permanent solution to an often temporary problem. One life lost because of suicide is one too many.

-Sterling Wilmer is a psychology junior