When the Young Take Their Lives

Suicide among college students is up. How do you spot a kid at risk--and what should you do?

A few weeks ago, while on neurosurgery call, I received a particularly disturbing page. "A 22-year-old woman is in the emergency room with a gunshot wound to the head," my chief resident told me. "Oh, and it looks self-inflicted," he added. The woman, a recent college grad, was in a coma and starting to show signs of brain death. I knew that an immediate operation was her best chance for survival. Over the next several hours, we worked feverishly to preserve the life she had tried to throw away.

Her predicament made me wonder, once again, what drives people to suicide...

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