NC State Police: 2 students found dead of apparent suicide within 24 hours

Friday, April 28, 2023
2 NC State students found dead of apparent suicide within 24hrs
The deaths marks the 6th and 7th apparent suicide by an NC State student this school year.

RALEIGH, N.C. (WTVD) -- Two students from North Carolina State University were found dead from apparent suicides within 24 hours.

The first student was found late Wednesday night near Lake Raleigh on the university's Centennial Campus, according to university police. On Thursday afternoon, another death was reported at Sullivan Hall.

NC State Chancellor Randy Woodson released a statement Thursday afternoon on the university's website.

"I am regretfully writing to you today with very sad news. Our community experienced two tragic student deaths in the last 24 hours. This is heartbreaking, and I know there's little I can say to console the deep hurt or heal the immense grief felt by the family and friends of these young people and others we've lost this year. What I can say is that I, along with so many caring members of our community, share in this grief."

In total, 14 NC State students have died this year, and seven of those deaths have come by suicide.

Students at the university are busy preparing for finals, say it's been a tough year for the Wolf Pack Community.

"It's stressful. There's a lot going on right now," said Abby Heil.

Some of the students who died were Heil's classmates in the Engineering Department.

"It's Just hard and it's even harder to feel like, you know, as a peer they were in my classes, and they couldn't reach out and ask for help," she said.

Peterson has also felt the pressures of her first year of college but continues to take advantage of the resources that the university has offered.

"It's a hard transition," she said. "You don't really understand it til you go through it, but I think it just takes time. Like honestly, it's just taken time to get adjusted. And I do think there are so many good resources here for tutoring and counselors."

Now, students are processing how current resources can best be implemented moving forward. One student who spoke with ABC11 suggested more communication between administrators and professors in the classroom.

"I just think it's really easy to get lost in such a huge school, that maybe if we took it to the classroom and took 10 minutes out of one class, and said like, 'Hey, if you need anything, let me know,' it would be a huge help," said freshman Spencer Worth.

UNC School of Medicine psychiatrist Michael Kane says, the more you can tailor the existing mental health infrastructure for individual students, the better.

"It seems like some of it has to do with consistent effort to engage the student body in ways to help them feel connected, because it's through that connection that we'll notice that people are struggling," Dr. Kane said.

The chancellor's statement outlines several mental health resources and additional help that will be available in the coming days.

"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," he said.

NCSU's Counceling Center and Prevention Services will also host drop-in spaces over the next few days for anyone who needs support. Those events happen April 27 from 4-6 p.m. at Caldwell Hall; April 28 from 11 a.m. - 1 p.m. at Caldwell Hall; April 28 from 1-4 p.m. at Talley 4280; May 1 from 1-4 p.m. at Talley 3210.

In the wake of several student deaths on campus this year, a student task force presented a new report back in February that outlined how tough college has been this year.

SEE ALSO | NC State students, staff to focus on mental health after student's death

The student's death is the eighth since the start of the school year.

The report found 34% of students surveyed were dealing with some form of depression, and 12% percent had suicidal thoughts. The numbers are from surveys taken before the COVID-19 pandemic, but the students who presented the report explained that they are still a snapshot of the mental health concerns facing students right now.

NC State has brought on more help in the counseling center and there are now more than 45 clinical positions.

Eleanor Lott, an NCSU sophomore who serves on the student task force, said it's important for students to become involved in mental health improvement efforts. She specifically highlighted the availability of AcademicLiveCare, which offers up to 12 free telehealth counseling services for students, as one option students can and should take advantage of.

SEE ALSO | State agencies work to expand mental health resources for students as disturbing trends rise

State agencies are highlighting efforts to increase access to mental health resources, as teenagers report growing challenges.

If you or somebody you know is struggling with thoughts of mental anguish or suicide, you can call or text 9-8-8, which is the Suicide and Crisis Lifeline, to be connected to help immediately. To learn more about its resources, click here.

SEE ALSO | 21-year-old NCSU student found dead at private residence in February

The new report will share challenges some students are facing and plans to increase support.