Penn forms task force on student mental health

The University of Pennsylvania has formed a task force on student mental health, following the suicide of several students including freshman Madison Holleran last month.

The task force was announced by President Amy Gutmann and Provost Vincent Price.

"The task force will examine the challenges confronting students that can affect their psychological health and wellbeig," Gutmann and Price said.

The task force willl review Penn's resources for helping students with mental health problems and make recommendations for improvement.

"Events both at Penn and elswhere testify to the sometimes devastating impact of severe psychological difficulties," the statement said.

"Lke peer campuses across the country, Penn has seen increasing need for psychological support services and programs, and we have worked assiduously to ensure the wellbeing of our students," Gutmann said.

Penn's counseling center recently announced it would hire three new staffers and expand its hours.

The announcement also comes following the release of a commission report on Tuesday that revealed some startling statistics, including that 58 percent of Penn students often feel "overwhelmed" and many turn to alcohol and drugs to release the stress.

THe campus community community was stunned last month when Holleran, 19, of Bergen County, N.J., jumped to her death from a campus ciity parking garage. There have been at least four suicides at Penn in the last year.

THe task force will be co-chaired by Rebecca Bushnell, a professor of Engliish and former dean of school of arts and sciences and Anthony Rostain, professor of psychiatry at the Perelman School of Medicine.

The task force is expected to issue a report in early 2015.