Rising Suicide Rates During Finals Week

Many students often feel high amounts of burnout and stress during exam season.

Finals week causes a large spike in suicide rates.


Finals week causes a large spike in suicide rates.

Roya Ghahreman, Columnist

While it is not uncommon to experience varying amounts of stress throughout the average high school school year, research has shown that many students’ mental health rapidly declines during finals season. This leads to a spike in suicide rates, which is something that is highly concerning both for communities and families, as well as for education systems. In order to combat the rapid mental health decline many students experience, some colleges have taken measures to help strengthen morale. There are also several healthy habits one can practice to combat these struggles, such as maintaining a balanced diet, exercising regularly, and recognizing the importance of mental health days. 

Many students, according to The Guardian, often express extreme academic stress before committing suicide. In England, around 43 percent of youth that considered suicide that year did so around exam season and had expressed intense feelings of burnout and stress. This is not uncommon, as we see similar statistics emerge throughout the US. as well. Many students often experience feelings of extreme hopelessness and burnout due to the challenging and seemingly unfathomable task of managing their end-of-the-year school work. It can be incredibly daunting, and living in the midst of a modern mental health crisis does nothing to help that fact. 

Although it is devastating to read about so many high schoolers and college students taking their lives due to academic pressures, there is some hope in the midst of this tragedy. Many colleges have begun to take measures during finals week to encourage morale in several different ways. According to Ivy Wise, many colleges have found creative ways to help students relieve some of their stress. Pomona College in California has a Death by Chocolate event during finals week, in which sweets are given out freely to students at different points around the campus. At Yale University, there is a dramatic banquet thrown, complete with an ice sculpture and buffet open to all freshmen during finals week.

Many high schools, however, do not have feasts or delectable chocolates available, but there are still ways to continue to be a stable-minded person through finals. Exercising and eating healthy are essential, as those habits let your body continue to thrive so that your mind is able to. It is also important to take mental health days if one recognizes the stress becoming too great or a sleep schedule is severely damaged. Even with these methods, it is understandable that some days will simply seem too unbearable. If you are ever struggling with suicidal thoughts or ideation, just know that you are not alone in this, but that it is not right to wallow in that mindset either. Teen Lifeline (602-248-8336) is a teen-to-teen crisis hotline that you can call if you are ever experiencing this or struggling to get through hard days or moments. Exams are difficult and workloads can be impossibly overwhelming, but none of the stress felt in a moment is justification for permanently ending a life. It is essential that everyone take care of their mental and physical health during these often stressful times and value their education, but above all, their own mind and body, in order to continue living a healthy, happy life.