Feeling Suicidal, College Students Are Told to Go Home


From The New York Times: “When Harrison Fowler heard about the counseling center at Stanford, where he enrolled as a freshman last fall, he decided to finally do something about the angst he had been struggling with for a long time.

The results were not what he had expected. Asked if he had ever considered suicide, he said yes. The center advised him to check himself into the hospital. From there, he was sent to a private outpatient treatment center, where he was prescribed an antidepressant that he said triggered horrible suicidal fantasies. It wasn’t long before he was back in the hospital, being urged to go home to Texas.

‘No, I can’t go home,’ Mr. Fowler, 19, recalled saying. ‘This is partly y’all’s fault for putting me on medication. I reached out for help and now I’m suddenly getting blamed for it.’

Mr. Fowler ended up having to take a year off. He is now part of a class-action lawsuit accusing the university of discriminating against students with mental health issues by coercing them into taking leaves of absence, rather than trying to meet their needs on campus.”

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  1. No one can “feel suicidal”, as the title says, because suicide is a complex action. People can feel hungry and tired and hot and cold.
    People can THINK of suicide as a solution to the despare or whatever discomfort/pain they are feeling.

    The first step to beating “feeling suicidal” is to know it is not a feeling. There are actions you can take to change your feelings. If you feel too hot , you move to where it is cold. You feel too cold, you move to where it is warmer.
    If you feel powerless you do something that makes you feel you have an effect on the/your environment. Thou Sisyphus’s rock always rolled down again.

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  2. “Asked if he had ever considered suicide…”

    This pisses me off so much! That is so inappropriate, asking if someone has ever considered suicide. That has no bearing whatsoever on their current state, which is what they were supposed to be assessing.

    Asking this is no different than asking if someone has ever peed their pants, and declaring them incontinent!!

    Most people, at some point in their lives, have peed their pants– maybe you got tickled (literally or figuratively) as a youngster and laughed so hard you peed; maybe in college you got so drunk once you passed out and peed yourself; maybe in your 30s you had a really exhausting week and finally catch a good deep sleep only to have that too-realistic going to the bathroom dream (you know the one). But nobody jumps to the conclusion you need to be put in adult diapers right away, do they? Of course not! That’s preposterous!

    AND… Most people, at some point in their lives, have a thought of suicide. Doesn’t mean they’re suicidal weeks or months or years later when some dolt asks such a ludicrously worded question!

    So, feel free to borrow this response if anyone asks you if you’ve “ever…” and answer their question with mine. “Have you ever peed your pants? And does that fact make you at risk of incontinence right now?” Use it as a teachable moment.

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    • Hi Lavender.

      Albert Camus: There is but one truly serious philosophical problem, and that is suicide. Judging whether life is or is not worth living amounts to answering the fundamental question of philosophy. All the rest — whether or not the world has three dimensions, whether the mind has nine or twelve categories — comes afterward. These are games; one must first answer.

      So I guess that would get him AOT’d immediately, if the shrink’s head didn’t explode first.

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      • Hi Oldhead 🙂

        Shrink’s head exploding brought to mind that scene from the original Star Trek where Spock tells the robot guy that everything Kirk says is a lie, then Kirk tells the robot guy “I’m lying.” Steam coming out the ears, sputtering “but…but…”

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      • Philosophical questions are a sure symptom of “mental illness.”

        Just like writing poetry, dressing oddly, enjoying the wrong sorts of books or movies, enjoying life, hating life, enjoying sex, not having sex, voting for the wrong political party, dating people your shrink/therapist wouldn’t, and practicing the wrong religion (worshiping any god but your shrink.)

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  3. from what I’ve seen, college counselling centers take “weeding out the riff raff” and/or “dealing with weaklings” to a whole other level.

    my experiences weren’t at an elite school, but…looking back, it was like this: the more working class or middle-middle class riff raff ended up there, one way or another. now and then you’d get a (usually female) person from a more affluent family, but…whatever…they usually got lots of Ativan. and then…

    some of them got more “breathing room” in their classes because of the counseling center. others ended up dropping out because they were doped up, labeled, and denied any sort of meaningful help in life challenges as a college student. so….

    just another example of one of the many faces of Mental Health, Inc. reinforcing the social order. come from an upper class family…sure kiddo, we’ll “help” (especially females…). Middle-middle class or below…yawn…here’s your Seroquel, maybe you should be a factory worker.

    I seem recall reading a bit of Breggin on college counseling. His piece was focused on the misogyny and the brain damage, if I remember correctly. Those are valid points, too…how does a late teens to early 20something go forth and do much of anything if the college psychiatrist has scrambled the neurons, already?

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  4. Actually the more I think about this it actually makes some sense — if school is driving you crazy why NOT go home and chill for awhile, or until another life choice presents itself? The guidance counselor can’t change those conditions in the vast majority of cases. After that comes the “mental health” system.

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    • College is not that sound a financial investment anymore. Even when I attended. I might have done better to take a year off. But Mom insisted I needed a degree to amount to anything. It was totally worthless. Any benefits were more than offset by my psych label and drug created disability.

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