CSU student's October suicide prompts policy changes — (Coloradoan.com)

To view original article click here


Written by Madeline Novey

Dec. 4, 2013

Following a student’s suicide in October, CSU has implemented policies designed to increase residence hall staff interaction with  students who might be struggling.

Freshman Amelia Sundblad, 18, died Oct. 23. A day earlier, she was transfered for undisclosed reasons from her room in the Durward residence hall to the fourth floor in the Westfall residence hall. She died early the next day by suicide, having overdosed on her prescription of Welbutrin, an antidepressant, a Larimer County Coroner’s Office investigator said Tuesday.

The night before her death, Sundblad emailed herself, according to a CSU Police Department report released Wednesday. In the email, the 2013 Arapahoe High School graduate and equestrian wrestled with feelings of guilt for stealing “numerous things” and said she was “falling apart.”

Her death shocked friends, who described her as “an incredible and beautiful spirit” known for her love of horses and talent at capturing life’s “little moments” on camera.

Two Westfall resident assistants and a resident found Sundblad five days later. She didn’t have a roommate.

The housing staff offered to help Sundblad transfer her belongings to the room in Westfall, but Sundblad declined, CSU spokesman Mike Hooker said. She told them she’d be OK and gather more of her things the next day.

Mental health experts and CSU leaders say no one is to blame for Sundblad’s death, but they agree more can be done to prevent suicide.

Students may change residence hall rooms for a number of reasons, including roommate, disciplinary or health issues.

CSU Housing and Dining Services employees — including RAs — are now asked to escort students to their temporary lodging rather than give them the option to move in unassisted. Making diligent, repeated attempts to follow up with that student in-person, by email and phone within 24 hours is also apart of policy changes prompted by Sundblad’s death.

Hooker said the university walks the fine line between respecting the privacy of adult students and potentially intervening before a suicide.