LSU email confirms Tulane medical student’s suicide

Zachary Schultz, Breaking News Editor

On Aug. 5, a memo was emailed to students enrolled at Louisiana State University School of Medicine addressing the recent suicide of Tim Chen, a third-year medical student at Tulane University School of Medicine. The email, entitled “Recent Tulane Tragedy,” was sent by the student body president of LSU Health’s Student Government Association, Kirby Anne Plessala, who confirmed the authenticity of the statement. TUSOM representatives said a memorial for faculty and classmates was held on Saturday, July 31, at the Riely Student Recreation Center.

According to the statement, Chen committed suicide sometime in late July. Prior to the internal circulation of this memo among medical students at LSU, the suicide was only rumored to have occurred. A word-of-mouth campaign prompted the SGA, together with Students Advocating for Equity in Medicine, to release the joint statement in order “to acknowledge and talk about the loss of someone from our New Orleans medical community.” 

The statement touched on the prevalent risk to medical students of falling victim to suicidal depression. Plessala said in the email that the Tulane student’s death “has served as a terrifying reminder of the stresses that can accompany medical school and the training we all must go through during these four years.” 

For those in need of help, contact Counseling and Psychological Services at 504-314-2277. The CAPS office is open 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday – Friday. CAPS provides mental health counseling and other related services. 

The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline can be reached 24 hours a day at 1-800-273-8255.