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Head of U Penn (former head of Cornell)’s counseling/psych services suicides

jym626jym626 55304 replies2877 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
We need to address this public health crisis. https://www.inquirer.com/news/unviersity-of-pennsylvania-death-psychological-services-20190909.html Head of Penn’s (and former head of Cornell’s) Psychological and Counseling services suicides. This is so sad.
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Replies to: Head of U Penn (former head of Cornell)’s counseling/psych services suicides

  • KnowsstuffKnowsstuff 3934 replies16 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    Wow... My condolence to his family.
    College is becoming a pressure cooker for the students and evidently for the people that are supposed to help.
    I tell both my kids that with the tuition we are paying there are lots of free things to take advantage of. Free music, free food, free tutoring and free mental health services. I tell them they don't have to tell me if they are going if they don't want to but to go and get help. I let them know it's OK and that there are many stressor on campus. If they do badly or even fail a class that it's OK. They can always retake it. We talk about social stressors etc.
    I have this talk every year and sometimes a quick mention during the year. We already know of two families from Northwestern that kids commuted suicide with one right before graduation. Like the same day.
    My daughter took a gap year (semester) after her study abroad
    She had a lot of stressors at her old college. She ended up transferring schools for another major. It was the best decision she /we made. I don't think it was anything like this at all but she needed the time off, got refreshed and now loves her new school and graduates this year. I think we need to really listen to what our kids are telling us even if it's subtle.
    I also had an IT guy that we became friendly from my office. His wife was a patient of mine. He kept telling me there are periods that he would go "dark" but he also did high end IT work he couldn't talk about.......
    As we became closer going dark meant he went into like mental rehabilitation for some conditions he had. My son spent time at his house since his son was about the same age and he taught my son about computer building, networking etc
    One day his son comes to my office to tell me his dad committed suicide by shooting himself in the head with a rifle in his backyard. He had failing other jobs, major issues with his current wife and just life issues that I didn't know about. He also had three children under 18.
    I really don't know what the answer is but maybe if he opened up to me more I could of helped. Don't really know.
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  • PublisherPublisher 7721 replies80 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    @jym626: Thank you for posting the UPenn link. Very troubling & thought provoking.
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  • RiversiderRiversider 782 replies88 threadsRegistered User Member
    It’s sad. RIP.
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  • PetraMCPetraMC 725 replies5 threadsRegistered User Member
    Wow. What a terrible tragedy. I feel for his family and all the students who were seeing him for treatment. That must be very confusing and heartbreaking.
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  • RiversiderRiversider 782 replies88 threadsRegistered User Member
    edited September 10
    According to school’s newspaper, depression is a serious problem there. May be load was too overwhelming for the guy to handle?

    Why is that so? Why higher percentage of stress among UP students? Stress? Competition? Winter? Large size? All of that? None of that?
    edited September 10
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  • CU123CU123 3537 replies65 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    Suicides are usually the result of a mental condition - depression, some percentage of the population is susceptible to it. Mental wellness is as important is physical wellness so if you are susceptible to an illness you need to seek treatment and since its a recurring illness, they need recurring treatment. Interesting fact (on this depressing issue) is that suicide survivors usually have one thought right after they attempt suicide - regret.
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  • MaineLonghornMaineLonghorn 38084 replies2086 threadsSuper Moderator Super Moderator
    edited September 10
    It says something when a professional trained in counseling and suicide prevention takes his own life. :( Reminds me of Kay Redfield Jamison - she and another counselor were struggling with suicidal thoughts and they made a pact to contact the other if things got bad. The other counselor didn't keep his end of the bargain and ended his life.

    I posted about this in a different thread, but there's a new program, Sources of Strength, that's being introduced into high schools all over the country. The idea is to give kids positive ideas on how to combat stress and anxiety, as well as improving school culture so that the students are actively looking out for each other. I have a lot of hope for the program.
    edited September 10
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  • warblersrulewarblersrule 9998 replies170 threadsSuper Moderator Super Moderator
    Riversider wrote:
    According to school’s newspaper, depression is a serious problem there... Why is that so? Why higher percentage of stress among UP students? Stress? Competition? Winter? Large size? All of that? None of that?
    Rates of depression and anxiety are rising at colleges everywhere. PhD students are particularly prone to anxiety and depression.

    Reports of suicide attempts increased from 0.7% of survey participants in 2013 to 1.8% in 2018, while the proportion of students reporting severe depression rose from 9.4% to 21.1% in the same period.

    The rate of moderate to severe depression rose from 23.2% in 2007 to 41.1% in 2018, while rates of moderate to severe anxiety rose from 17.9% in 2013 to 34.4% in 2018.


    https://www.reuters.com/article/us-health-mental-undergrads/depression-anxiety-rising-among-us-college-students-idUSKCN1VJ25Z

    Several studies suggest that graduate students are at greater risk for mental health issues than those in the general population. This is largely due to social isolation, the often abstract nature of the work and feelings of inadequacy -- not to mention the slim tenure-track job market. But a new study in Nature Biotechnology warns, in no uncertain terms, of a mental health “crisis” in graduate education.

    “Our results show that graduate students are more than six times as likely to experience depression and anxiety as compared to the general population,” the study says, urging action on the part of institutions. “It is only with strong and validated interventions that academia will be able to provide help for those who are traveling through the bioscience workforce pipeline.”

    The paper is based on a survey including clinically validated scales for anxiety and depression, deployed to students via email and social media. The survey’s 2,279 respondents were mostly Ph.D. candidates (90 percent), representing 26 countries and 234 institutions. Some 56 percent study humanities or social sciences, while 38 percent study the biological and physical sciences. Two percent are engineering students and 4 percent are enrolled in other fields.

    Some 39 percent of respondents scored in the moderate-to-severe depression range, as compared to 6 percent of the general population measured previously with the same scale.


    https://www.insidehighered.com/news/2018/03/06/new-study-says-graduate-students-mental-health-crisis
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  • dropbox77177dropbox77177 183 replies0 threadsRegistered User Junior Member
    This one seems strange to me. He didn't even really start his job at Penn, just 6 months into it (and 4 of those were the summer). His wife and kids still back in Ithaca. Jumped out of the window at 6:40 in the morning. No suicide note.
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  • roycroftmomroycroftmom 2876 replies37 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    I would have thought the job was more managerial in nature- supervising counselors, planning budgets, meetings with other departments- rather than the director actually having patients
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  • 1NJParent1NJParent 1253 replies33 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    ^You're probably right. But I would think just hearing about these cases/events constantly around you for years is highly depressing. Cornell is known to have more than its fair share of such cases/events.
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  • jym626jym626 55304 replies2877 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    edited September 11
    The sad part about this and similar stories is that we really do not know what goes on behind closed doors for anyone. People’s personal and/or family challenges are not usually aired in public. So one really cannot know that one professional category has more “messed up” relationships than others. Thats just silly, and unsubstantiated. This research article contradicts that theory https://www.bmj.com/content/350/bmj.h706 and this article mentions divorce rates in several professions https://qz.com/1069806/the-highest-and-lowest-divorce-rates-in-america-by-occupation-and-industry/ Scientists and physicians have relatively low divorce rates.
    edited September 11
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  • 4gsmom4gsmom 706 replies25 threadsRegistered User Member
    I've heard lately of so many seemingly impulsive suicides - it really makes me wonder if it's a side effect of a particular medication that is being given for depression. People who have plans the next day, dinner thawing in the refrigerator for example - very strange.
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  • KnowsstuffKnowsstuff 3934 replies16 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    edited September 11
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2656315/

    Thought this was interesting but then doctors prescribe :https://www.therecoveryvillage.com/ambien-addiction/ambien-depression/#gref

    Which can bring on suicide thought and other strange thoughts /behavior. It works for sleep but is a very powerful drug with very powerful side effects. Wish they would take it off the market.
    edited September 11
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  • JHSJHS 18373 replies71 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    This is an awfully unusual suicide, but no one seems to be questioning that it is a suicide (vs. an accident, or even a homicide). Local media, which is usually pretty circumspect in calling death suicides (and when they use the s-word, qualifying it with "apparent" or "possible"), has been saying straight-up, unqualified "suicide." I think that means there's probably a coroner's report that says the same thing. I speculate that there are some nonpublic facts that make a suicide seem more likely.
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  • roycroftmomroycroftmom 2876 replies37 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    It would seem likely there was a witness. Office cleaners would have been around at that time.
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  • jym626jym626 55304 replies2877 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    edited September 11
    Maybe someone might have been in the building and witnessed it, but FWIW, the cleaning staff in the buildings I've worked in come in the evening, not in the morning. That's how I learned the word "basura" ;)
    edited September 11
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  • roycroftmomroycroftmom 2876 replies37 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    Our cleaners are in both times. Or it could have been an office worker. In any event, someone to state definitively how the event occurred.
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