Ten percent of graduate and professional students at the University of California at Berkeley have contemplated suicide. That's one of the disturbing statistics in a new study.
Amid a wave of publicity about suicide among undergraduates, Berkeley decided it was time to look at its graduate population's mental health. Among the findings:
- 18 of the 3,121 students surveyed reported that they had tried to kill themselves at least once in the last year.
- 67% reported feeling "overwhelmed" frequently or all the time.
- 54% reported feeling depressed frequently or all the time.
- 45% reported that they had experienced emotional or stress-related problems that "significantly" affected their well being and/or their academic performance.
- While most students who used the university's counseling services said they were helped, only a minority of students actually used them. International students were less likely than others to use the university's services.
- Female graduate students were more likely than men to report feeling hopeless, exhausted, depressed, or sad.
The study included only Berkeley graduate students. But Temina Madon, an analyst at Berkeley's health-services department who worked on the study, says she doesn't think the findings are "Berkeley specific." In an e-mail, Madon writes: "We've been in touch with interested faculty, students and staff at UC Davis, UC San Diego and U. Michigan Ann Arbor, and we're hopeful that similar such surveys will be undertaken at these universities."