Mythbuster: Suicide Is Not More Common During the Holidays

Going "Home for the Holidays" can be chore — but it's no worse than during the rest of the year.

Going “Home for the Holidays” can be chore — but it’s no worse than during the rest of the year.

The Annenberg Public Policy Center at Penn has some good news for people who appreciate accuracy in media: Last year, for the first time in four years, there was a decrease in the number of news stories that falsely associated holiday time with suicide. Annenberg’s analysis notes that the lowest suicide rate is between mid-November and January, yet for many years the majority of news outlets tended to perpetuate the holiday-suicide myth rather than contradict it. Read more »

Timothy Hamlett’s Body Found in Hudson River

Inviting you to share the life of Timothy Akil Hamlett.

Posted by Missing Timothy Hamlett on Monday, June 1, 2015

The body of Timothy Hamlett, a Penn track star missing since December, was found in New York’s Hudson River over the weekend.

“On Monday afternoon, Katherine Hamlett confirmed that her son, former Penn junior Timothy Hamlett, had been found dead on Friday in the Hudson River. She said she believes her son jumped from the George Washington Bridge, committing suicide,” the Daily Pennsylvanian reports.

“We never had any indication that our son was suicidal at all. It is important to me that people do know that this is what he did,” Hamlett told the paper. “I don’t want to sweep it under the rug and avoid the reality of how he died.” Read more »

Man Who Jumped From Hotel Balcony Identified

Sean McGrellis from his LinkedIn page

Sean McGrellis from his LinkedIn page

The friends and family of Sean McGrellis are grieving his loss after the 37-year-old Williamstown, New Jersey, man jumped from a balcony high up at Center City’s Embassy Suites Hotel on Saturday afternoon. He has been identified by the Philadelphia Medical Examiner’s Office, and the death was ruled a suicide. Read more »

Report: Penn Must Fight “Destructive Perfectionism”


A university task force formed after a wave of suicides hit campus last year says Penn must fight a culture of “destructive perfectionism.”

The Daily Pennsylvanian reports:

The eight-page report focuses on “cultural change rather than structural change,” Co-Chair of the task force Anthony Rostain said.

“Destructive perfectionism,” according to Rostain, is one thing the Penn community needs to fight. The report contends “the drive for academic excellence along with the perception that in order to be successful one needs to hold leadership roles in multiple realms contributes to the amount of stress and distress experienced by Penn students.”

Read more »

Accused of Fraud, Bucks County Man Kills Himself

Thomas French

Thomas French

A member of the Bucks County family accused of accumulating a fortune through insurance fraud, has killed himself.

Thomas French was married to Claire Risoldi. “Risoldi’s family set fires in their matriarch’s home so they could collect more than $20 million in insurance claims, then used the cash float an ‘excessively extravagant lifestyle’ marked by $1.2 million in jewelry and six Ferraris, according to charges announced last month by Pennsylvania Attorney General Kathleen Kane,” NBC 10 reports.

French, 64, “shot himself in front of a Risoldi family home” on Thursday, the station reported.

Read more »

12-Year-Old Boy Commits Suicide After Being Bullied For Being a Cheerleader

Tragic news out of Folsom, California today is the latest eye-opener to the fact that bullying is alive and well—and the repercussions can be devastating. News 10 reports on a 12-year-old boy who committed suicide after he faced bullying at school for being a cheerleader.

shimizuLast year, Ronin Shimizu was in sixth grade at Folsom Middle School and was the only boy on the Eagles cheer squad. Friends said he was bullied for being a cheerleader. The bullying got to be so bad, Ronin was taken out of school and had to be home-schooled. He was also being home schooled this year.

“He was bullied very badly,” Riley Coleman said as she teared up. The Folsom Middle School sixth grader was on the squad with Ronin last year. “It’s not ok to bully people,” she said through tears.

“So sad to know that people can hurt you that way,” student Allie Flahive said.

“I was devastated when I found out. I started crying,” Ronin’s friend Grace Velander said. “I’ve known him since 6th grade. Me and him had classes all last year together.”

“He was just a sweet child. For him to feel that hopeless is heart-breaking,” concerned parent Cynthia Brown said.

Read more »

22nd and Market Memorial Park Names Artist

building collapse

Photo of woman at demolition site paying honor to one of the collapse victims. Photo: Laura Kicey.

The most recent Center City Residents Association Newsletter has an update on the memorial park proposed for 22nd and Market, the site of the June 2013 building collapse responsible for the death of seven people: artist Barbara Fox has been selected to design the memorial sculpture. From the newsletter:

As for her winning concept, Fox says she wanted the families to be able to personalize the memorial for themselves. “My idea was to have windows in a house-shaped piece, and each victim’s family could customize how the window would look so that it would mean something to them, like the color of the glass or the texture of the glass. The name of each of the six victims would be etched into the granite over each window. Then, there would be a seventh window for individuals who were injured in the collapse. Above that window it would say ‘for those we remember’. “

All due respect to Fox, who was obviously speaking very preliminarily, let’s memorialize the death of seven people, rather than six, so that Ronald Waggenhoffer is not forgotten. (In case you have forgotten him, read this piece about his suicide.) He was a victim too, and deserves his own window.

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