I am looking for a dataset listing college student suicides (preferably in the US) with as many following fields as possible:

  • college name
  • date/time
  • age
  • gender
  • major/minor
  • reason of suicide
  • method of suicide
  • 4
    You can get to some of what you want through this CDC WISQARS Fatal Injury Reports and select "suicide": webappa.cdc.gov/sasweb/ncipc/mortrate10_us.html . You won't get college name, major/minor, reason, nor method of suicide though. Aug 10, 2014 at 22:36
  • 3
    imho you won't find one place (lets make one!) - this is the kind of data that is very hidden from most outlets. its not "hidden" like you can't find it, but hidden like you can't go to jmu's website and see how many kids killed themselves. you'll probably need to compile a list from a number of sources....
    – albert
    Aug 11, 2014 at 1:22
  • I'm guessing that it would be nearly impossible to get this directly from colleges due to FERPA. There's also going to be some issues with cases that may get excluded (eg, if a student kills themself while at home for the summer, does that get counted? What if they're taking distance learning classes from home? What if they're not taking classes, but have filed the paperwork for a semester off?), or complex cases (eg, if they're in a semester abroad / student exchange program, which college does it get counted under?)
    – Joe
    Oct 20, 2014 at 19:49

1 Answer 1


Here are two half-answers that hopefully can lead to a full one.

It seems a data set doesn't exist, with the exception of @Skram's comment about the WISQARS database.

But there are many journal papers that have done studies, and by browsing them you can find lists. It's unstructured, but you can structure the data with the fields you provided in your question.

To start, the SPRC has a page on college prevalence (LINK), with links to pages of research studies. Their white paper (PDF) talks about the Big Ten study being the most comprehensive.

The Big Ten Student Suicide Study (Silverman et al., 1997), undertaken from 1980 to 1990 to determine the suicide rate on Big Ten campuses, was the most comprehensive report on the incidence of suicides in undergraduate and graduate school populations by age, gender, and race. The study collected demographic and correlational data on 261 suicides of registered students at 12 Midwestern campuses.

  • Silverman, M., Meyer. P., Sloane, F., Raffel, M., & Pratt, D. (1997). The Big Ten student suicide study. Suicide and Life Threatening Behavior, 27, 285–303.

As expected, that paper is behind a firewall. But I think this is the kind of data that will require some digging. Emailing authors and asking if they are willing to share the data would be a good start.

Another option would be to read news stories, for example, with the NYTimes API. Suicides reported in the NYTimes would be either high-profile stories or local New York / New Jersey colleges. Perhaps a network of news APIs could 'grep' stories from across the country.

  • 4
    not related, but make sure to alert open access button when you come across data behind firewalls, etc. openaccessbutton.org
    – albert
    Oct 21, 2014 at 0:52
  • Note that the www link to Open Access Button site in the comment above leads to a site with an invalid certificate. Try openaccessbutton.org instead
    – sboysel
    Dec 8, 2019 at 1:19

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