Report: Penn Must Fight “Destructive Perfectionism”

Task force, formed in wake of suicides, says university culture must be changed.


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.”

The report contains four recommendations for Penn:

• Increase communication about mental health resources.
• Make information about resources more accessible.
• Train the Penn community on mental health
• Optimize the resources devoted to Counseling and Psychological Services.

The recommendations will be discussed by University Council, 4 p.m. Wednesday in Bodek Lounge.

Steve Volk wrote about suicides at Penn for Philly Mag last spring.

For confidential support if you are having thoughts of suicide, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255). Learn about the warning signs of suicide at the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention.