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Head of mental health services at US university commits suicide


Gregory Eells

The executive director of counseling and psychological services at
the University of Pennsylvania died by suicide Monday morning in
Philadelphia, officials said.

Gregory Eells became the head of the department at UPENN in March.

His death was ruled a suicide by the medical examiner’s office,
according to James Garrow, a spokesman for the Philadelphia Department
of Public Health.

In a message to students Monday, the school said only that Eells died suddenly.

Eells’ mother, Jeanette Eells-Rich, told The Philadelphia Inquirer he
had been upset in recent months, telling her the job was harder than he
anticipated. Eells-Rich said the job had kept him from his wife and
three children, who were still living in Ithaca, New York.

He died at the building where he lived in the Center City neighborhood of downtown Philadelphia, the Inquirer reported.

Eells was slated to be a vital collaborator in Penn’s campus-wide
initiatives to sustain wellness across the University, the school said in a statement in January.

“In particular, his vision and experience will be invaluable as we
continue to improve and integrate our services dedicated to student
wellness,” Provost Wendell Pritchett said.

The department he headed, Counseling and Psychological Services, describes itself on its website as
a resource to help “students adjust to university life, manage personal
and situational challenges, develop coping strategies, and grow
personally and professionally.”

Eells had previously worked at Cornell University as director of
counseling and psychological services and as director of the University
Counseling Center at the University of Southern Mississippi.

He arrived at UPENN at a time when the campus community was demanding
more mental health resources, according to student newspaper The Daily Pennsylvanian, in the wake of at least 14 student deaths by suicide since 2013.

Sunday was the start of National Suicide Prevention week, an annual week-long awareness campaign designed to engage Americans about the warning signs of suicide and the resources available for people in crisis.

Source: Myjoyonline.com

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