Penn’s Head of Mental Health Services Dies by Suicide

Gregory Eells had joined the department that provides mental health services in March.

Penn’s Head of Mental Health Services Dies by Suicide

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The executive director of counseling and psychological services at the University of Pennsylvania died by suicide Monday morning.

Gregory Eells, 52, had recently come to Penn to lead the department. According to his mother, Jeanette Eells-Rich, he told her that his new position was more difficult than he had anticipated. He was also upset that the job was keeping him from his wife and three children, who were still living in Ithaca, N.Y., reports the Philadelphia Inquirer.

Before coming to Penn in March, Eells worked for 16 years at Cornell University as director of counseling and psychological services. Before that he worked for five years as director of the University Counseling Center at the University of Southern Mississippi, reports NBC News. He has also held positions for a number of national organizations, including the Association for University and College Counseling Center Directors and the Mental Health Section of the American College Health Association.

Eells joined Penn in response to at least 14 student deaths by suicide since 2013. The parents of one of the victims who died by suicide in 2016 sued the school, claiming it failed to respond to the victim’s pleas for help.

This is National Suicide Prevention week, which is intended to raise awareness about the warning signs of suicide and the resources that are available.

If you or someone you know is thinking of suicide, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-8255, text TALK to 741741 or visit for additional information.

About the Author

Robin Hattersley Gray

Robin has been covering the security and campus law enforcement industries since 1998 and is a specialist in school, university and hospital security, public safety and emergency management, as well as emerging technologies and systems integration. She joined CS in 2005 and has authored award-winning editorial on campus law enforcement and security funding, officer recruitment and retention, access control, IP video, network integration, event management, crime trends, the Clery Act, Title IX compliance, sexual assault, dating abuse, emergency communications, incident management software and more. Robin has been featured on national and local media outlets and was formerly associate editor for the trade publication Security Sales & Integration. She obtained her undergraduate degree in history from California State University, Long Beach.

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