The suicide of a Yale University student has left the community mournful and in shock. The Yale junior who took his life in New York City last week is the latest in a rash at colleges in recent months. Suicide on college campuses is the second leading cause of death.

Cornell University, which reports six this year, has taken steps to erect barriers at various bridges over the gorges. The student paper also knows this is a temporary solution:

"if there were ever a time to have a broader and more holistic view of our support for students, it is now. The suicides are but the tip of the iceberg, indicative of a much larger spectrum of mental health challenges faced by many on our campus and on campuses everywhere, not only among students but among faculty and staff. The pressures of the economic environment and our responses to it, added to the already intense milieu of a top research university, should make us all reconsider how we support each other and how we ourselves seek and accept support.

Schools know they walk a delicate line between acknowledging the grief with support and reassurance to families and students, with the worry not to create a copy-cat environment. At Cornell, two of the suicides were on consecutive days. The school set up a blog, The Caring Community, to address counseling and academic questions and link to resources both inside and outside the school.

Other campuses are taking note during these weeks when the pressure is intense leading into the final months of the academic year. Princeton is among those quick to open discussions with student groups, counseling services, and administration. James Madison University will have a day-long event to commemorate and make students aware of the problem nationwide. The student newspaper at Washington University (St. Louis) is among those telling students, "There's nothing wrong with asking for help when you need it."

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Phyllis Vine

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