NEW YORK, March 21 (UPI) -- Midterms and basketball may mark spring as a time of college madness, but mental illness can be a serious threat for some students, a U.S. psychiatrist warns.
Dr. David Kahn of the New York-Presbyterian Hospital/Columbia University Medical Center says college age is often when mental illness becomes a problem.
"College can be a difficult transition, with new independence, responsibilities and expectations arriving just as a student's previous support system of family and friends are often not readily available," Kahn said in a statement.
"To add to the problem, the late teen years are often when biologically based illnesses, such as depression and bipolar disorder, begin to manifest themselves."
All too often, a mentally ill student may see suicide as a solution. Signs of depression -- hopelessness, a drop in school performance, dwelling on a setback, or withdrawing from friends and activities -- means a student needs help, Kahn says.
Talking about suicide, giving things away or an abrupt change in personality -- including hostility or unusual calmness after loss -- should be taken seriously, Kahn advises.
"Virtually all college students who take their own lives had a diagnosable, treatable mental illness." says Kahn. "The issues that lead to suicide are usually temporary -- sadly suicide is permanent."