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University of Pennsylvania student is 10th on ‘over-stressed campus’ to commit suicide in three years after jumping in front of train

It’s sad to read the aforementioned article published by the New York Daily News on April 14, 2016.

We have been talking about suicide prevention in the past on major social media and hope that U.S. colleges and universities could do more to stop similar tragedies from happening over and over again.

Below is an article we published on Linkedin.com.    The purpose of this article is to bring a possible remedy or alternative to the indifferent and unempathetic managerial style on many U.S. campuses.    We believe educational institutions bear the responsibility of their students’ wellbeings, including their mental health.


Nearly every school offers crisis counseling services as part of its preventive CRM (Customer Relations Management) system.    But does this system actually work?  How many times a year do your students in need of help actually ask for it before a tragedy happens?

We often hear the three pillars of success – IQ, EQ, and AQ.    Which of these three is most crucial? Let’s take a look at some examples of Chinese students studying in the U.S., and whose tragedies may have been averted.[/vc_column_text][vc_btn title=”Yale Student’s Golden Gate Bridge Suicide” color=”mulled-wine”][vc_column_text]Around 10:30 am on Jan. 27, 2015, Lu Chang  Wang, a 20-year-old Chinese student at Yale, crossed the rail of the Golden Gate Bridge and jumped to her death.  What could have prompted this young, brilliant lady to end her life? Here are some clues:

Student death raises questions on withdrawal policies

Harvard Student Leaped to His Death

The evening of April 6, 2014, an Asian American at Harvard University died after jumping from a 7-story building.    “Andrew Sun was known as a bright student, a humble listener, and a mentor.  He was well-known on the Harvard campus for his involvement in the Harvard College.”   Andrew Sun was in the class of 2016.

MIT Chinese Student Suffered Psychologically

On October 26, 2012, a Chinese graduate student at MIT’s Sloan School of Management’s MBA program was found dead at her home.  She was known as Guo Heng or Nikita Guo.    Most of her friends said she had a pleasant personality, but they had no idea that that she was suffering psychologically from culturally induced pressure.

Guo Heng wrote in her blog of how she felt inferior to her Western peers.  She also stated “my only advantage over my classmates is fluent Chinese.” She further complained “I can’t compete with them whatsoever in intelligence, efficiency or professionalism.

Preventive CRM Starts with Identifying the Potential Problems

China’s most outstanding students are used to having praise lavished upon them. They are not necessarily used to being criticized. So when they arrive to study in the west, even the most gentle, constructive criticism is often misinterpreted as harsh and demeaning.     A Chinese student at Harvard, for example, ended his life because he thought his professor’s criticism to him was unreasonable.  He also could not bear the fact that Harvard’s  highly competitive environment meant that he was no longer number one in his class. .

Under China’s one-child policy, many parents pressure their only child to outperform others.  As mentioned in my earlier blog (to cheat or not to cheat), this goal is achieved by any and all means.   All that matters is being number one in class. Second place is not acceptable, and may even be considered disgraceful.   Falling short of this goal often leads to severe depression and even suicide.

Chinese students represent one of the largest international demographics on many campuses today.  Our experience proves that your Chinese enrollment figures are impacted by how well you manage international relationships.

Although Chinese prefer nationally ranked schools to those in the lower tiers, there is no excuse for poor CRM.  In fact, as an unbranded school entering the Chinese market, it is essential that you double down on you CRM efforts.

Psychological Quiz on Your Application Form is Helpful

Teaching foreign students how to deal with adversity early on in their new environment is worth considering.  A psychological EQ & AQ quiz on your school’s application forms may also help to spot potential flashpoints before they erupt.

Preventing depression and suicide among international students begins  with your administration.  It’s important that your mission to educate students should include schooling your administrative staff on cultural sensitivities to avert disaster.

(Author: T. Gray, co-founder of Access Education, LLC)