Gregory Eells had become the head of the department in March.

By Helen Murphy
September 13, 2019

Dr. Gregory Eells, the executive director of counseling and psychological services at the University of Pennsylvania, died by suicide, a spokesperson with the Philadelphia Department of Public Health confirms to PEOPLE.

Eells’ death was ruled a suicide by the Philadelphia medical examiner’s officer, the spokesperson told PEOPLE. According to the Philadelphia Inquirer, he died on Monday after jumping from the 17th floor of a building in Center City Philadelphia where he had been living.

RELATED: Why People Die by Suicide, According to Experts

According to NBC News, Eells had become the head of the UPenn department in March. He previously worked for over a decade at Cornell University in a similar role, according to a statement released by UPenn after his hiring.

The statement described Eells as a “vital collaborator in our campus-wide initiatives to sustain wellness across the University.”

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Eells’ mother, Jeanette Eells-Rich, told the Inquirer that Eells had found the new job harder than he had anticipated, and his work had kept him from spending time with his wife and three children. Eells-Rich also told the newspaper that, though he had seemed down in recent months, he was “the most smiling, upbeat person I have met in my life.”

In an email to UPenn students on Monday, the university said that Eells had died suddenly, but did not specify the cause, according to student newspaper The Daily Pennsylvanian 

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UPenn’s department of counseling and psychological services describes itself on its website as a place to help “students adjust to university life, manage personal and situational challenges, develop coping strategies, and grow personally and professionally.”

According to NBC, there have been at least 14 student deaths by suicide since 2013, leading to a growing call for more mental health resources on campus.

If you or someone you know is considering suicide, please contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255), text “help” to the Crisis Text Line at 741-741 or go to suicidepreventionlifeline.org.

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