Schools

WPI experiences 2 more student deaths — a total of 6 since July

"As a university, we expect to launch our students into their futures, and it is jarring and painful to lose them."

Suzanne Kreiter/Globe staff

Two Worcester Polytechnic Institute students died while home on winter break, school officials said this week.

MassLive reports a 21-year-old undergraduate student died by suicide and a 25-year-old graduate student died after suffering an epileptic seizure.

In a message to students and staff on Tuesday, WPI President Laurie Leshin wrote the two deaths “are difficult to accept.”

“As a university, we expect to launch our students into their futures, and it is jarring and painful to lose them,” she wrote. “These losses, even for those who don’t know these young people personally, are unsettling and can be deeply upsetting. If you are struggling for any reason, please reach out to a friend, a colleague, a family member — or any of the faculty and staff who, I promise, care about you deeply. We are here for you.”

Advertisement:

WPI has been rocked by several student deaths in recent months: Since July, the school has now experienced the loss of six students.

Of the four that occurred before the winter break, three of the deaths were confirmed suicides, and the fourth was an apparent suicide, according to The Boston Globe.

The deaths come as mental health challenges brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic have seeped onto college campuses across the country, exacerbating already fragile issues.

Students have reported intense loneliness piled on top of anxiety and depression.

Last year, Dartmouth College saw a disturbing trend of its own, as it grappled with the deaths of four students.

“The urgency is greater than it has ever been, and we need to focus on reducing the stress that everyone is feeling,” Leshin told the Globe last month. “Any campus that experiences the loss of a young person, it’s devastating. And this has been.”

Leshin, in her message to the school community on Tuesday, reminded students and staff of the mental health resources offered through WPI’s “Be Well Together” initiative.

If you or someone you know is considering suicide, the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline provides free and confidential mental health support at 800-273-8255.

Jump To Comments

Conversation

This discussion has ended. Please join elsewhere on Boston.com