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The University of Pennsylvania counseling head takes his life

A 52-year-old man jumped from the 17th floor of the Center City building in downtown Philadelphia on Sept. 9. The 6:40 a.m. incident, which occurred at the 100 South Broad Street residential building, claimed his life. The medical examiner’s officer have ruled his death as a suicide. The University of Pennsylvania (Penn) has since identified the decedent as the head of their Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS).

The decedent had just taken the role of CAPS executive director at Penn approximately six months ago. It’s in that capacity that he was responsible for supervising the provision of mental health services to students.

By all accounts, Penn needed his help. As many as 14 of the school’s students have lost their lives to suicide since 2013. The decedent’s research interests centered around resilience, something that college students could have learned a little more about.

In an interview conducted with the decedent’s mother following his death, she revealed that he hadn’t been acting like his typical self in the months leading up to his death.

She said that he often complained about missing his three kids and his wife. They’d remained back in Ithaca, N.Y. near Cornell University, the school where he’d worked for 10 years before coming to Penn.

The decedent also complained to both his wife and mother about how the job he’d taken on at Penn was far more difficult than he imagined that it would be. Although both had told him to simply quit the job, he didn’t. He instead allowed himself to fall deeper into a depressed state while thinking about it. It’s unclear if he tried to seek out outside help for what he was going through.

You’ve likely heard the saying “stress kills”. This case is illustrative of that. Each year, countless workers develop chronic illnesses such as heart disease, gastrointestinal disorders such as irritable bowel syndrome and others because their workplace pressures are just too intense. Others workers don’t feel that they have any other recourse but to take their lives.

If your work environment in Dauphin has become so toxic that it’s caused a decline in your mental or physical health, then a workplace illness attorney can help. They can provide you with sound advice on your disabling condition including how you may qualify for Social Security Disability and other benefits here in Pennsylvania for it.


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