Last week, the Temple community suffered a tragic loss. Richard Dalcourt, a freshman mechanical engineering major, died after he fell from the fifth floor of 1940 Residence Hall last Tuesday. The medical examiner’s office later ruled Dalcourt’s death a suicide.
Before that, on Aug. 31, Temple lost junior film and media arts major Jenna Burleigh. Yesterday, we learned that Cariann Hithon, a political science and philosophy student, died on Sunday.
The loss of Temple students has a profound effect on many individuals, most notably their family and close friends. Their deaths also send ripple effects through the entire Temple community. Temple students and faculty members need support from the university now more than ever, especially in the form of mental health awareness and counseling.
Last week, The Temple News staff reached out to a university spokesperson to set up an interview with a representative from Tuttleman Counseling Services. We hoped we could get a mental health expert to help us understand the early signs of mental illness and suicide and point us to effective resources on Main Campus and in Philadelphia to share with readers. We wanted to report this information in hopes that it might help students struggling with their mental health in the future.
But a university spokesperson declined to help us facilitate this interview. Instead, he provided us with a general statement about Tuttleman Counseling Services — one that could be found on Tuttleman’s website — and the link to a website about the signs of mental illness. This silence on behalf of the university is striking, especially in the face of a mental health tragedy on Main Campus and other student deaths.
Tuttleman Counseling Services has been criticized in the past for long wait times — last semester, students had to wait up to five weeks for an intake appointment.
We understand that Tuttleman Counseling Services is overwhelmed with the daunting task of serving the mental health needs of nearly 40,000 students. When tragedy strikes the Temple community like it has multiple times this semester, that responsibility is heightened. The university should allocate more resources to Tuttleman Counseling Services so this responsibility isn’t so challenging to meet.
At the very least, the university should make an effort to help The Temple News educate the community about the warning signs of suicide and mental health issues. Temple students and faculty are regularly expected to endure long wait times for mental health care.
In the face of tragedy, the least the university could do is provide words of comfort or advice in the meantime.
If you need support from the university:
- Walk-in hours at Tuttleman Counseling Services are Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday from 10 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. and Wednesday and Saturday from 9 a.m. to noon.
- From Monday through Friday, a professional counselor at Tuttleman is always available for walk-in emergencies from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.
- Tuttleman Counseling Services offers grief and loss group counseling sessions on Tuesday from 4 to 5:30 p.m. The group aims to provide support and guidance on self-care during times of grief. To join the group, students must go visit Tuttleman during walk-in hours and attend a group screening appointment.
- Contact Tuttleman Counseling Services at 215-204-7276
If you need support immediately:
- Contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255.
- Psychiatric emergency services are available 24/7 at Temple’s Crisis Response Center at Episcopal Hospital. Contact the Crisis Response Center at 215-707-2577.
- Contact Campus Safety Services at 215-204-1234.