Another North Carolina State University student commits suicide, taking toll to 7


An undated image of students sitting on the stairs of the University of Pennsylvania. — Reuters/File

Just after the suicide of a student on Wednesday, another student of North Carolina State University reportedly killed himself on Thursday, said the university, taking the suicide toll on the campus this academic year to seven, NBC News reported.

The University spokesperson Lauren Barker said that during the search on Wednesday, Police discovered the body of a student who told someone via a message that he is to commit suicide.

The body was later discovered in the woods near Lake Raleigh.

As the news reached the campus, another death of a student surfaced Thursday afternoon.

The spokesperson provided little details about the second student and said: “Since we spoke, another student was found dead by apparent suicide on campus today.”

According to Baker, a total of 14 North Carolina State students have died due to various causes since August.

The University Chancellor Randy Woodson in a statement to students Thursday regarded developments as “heartbreaking.”

He wrote: “Please take extra care of yourselves, keep an eye out for each other and be on the lookout for those around you who might need help. Don’t be afraid to intervene if you think a friend is struggling, and please don’t feel ashamed if you’re struggling.”

In the statement, he also directed students to use the resources, of the university including its counselling centre and a free teletherapy service.

He went on: “No matter what you’re going through, know that you are not alone; your NC State family cares about you, and we are here to support you.”

A senior Lilly Wallace said the losses have created a sense of uneasiness on campus, where students are studying for final exams.

While referring to the first death, Wallace said: “It’s pretty overwhelming, to be honest. It feels like this is almost constant at this point.”

On the second death, Wallace said: “It’s hard to put into words just how devastating this is.”

Last year in October, Wallace formed a petition and proposed that the university routinely offer mental health wellness days during the academic year so students could have breaks from the pressures of schoolwork.

Wallace said: “The school says we have all these mental health resources for students to use, but if you don’t have actual time off to breathe and check in with yourself and say, ‘I might need help, I’m struggling a lot more than I realised I was,’ you might not ever use those resources.”

The petition which had signatures of 4,800 suggested that the university bar professors from giving assignments over school breaks.

She noted: “Some professors will still assign assignments over those breaks, or we’ll have quizzes or tests after, so it’s not really a break at that point.”

A report from the student mental health task force suggested the university recently began scheduling student wellness days.

The task force noted that North Carolina State, with more than 36,000 undergraduate and graduate students, had an unusually high number of suicides this year even before the deaths in the last 24 hours. It typically averages three student deaths by suicide a year.

After the death of a fifth student last month, the vice chancellor and dean of academic and student affairs, Doneka Scott, said that North Carolina State was implementing recommendations from the task force, including working with The Jed Foundation, a nonprofit group that partners with schools to strengthen their mental health support programs.

Scott also added: In recent years, the university has drastically increased staffing at its counselling centre and added other mental health positions.

The country has witnessed rising mental health issues, as the national survey last month found college students experiencing all-time high rates of depression, anxiety and suicidality.

Scott believes that the pandemic, social and political divisions in the US have contributed to college students’ distress.

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