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Boston Weather: 40.0°F | A Few Clouds and Breezy

Student Ends Life In Jump from Dorm

By Dana Levine

NEWS DIRECTOR

Lucy D. Crespo Da Silva ’00 fell from the window of her 14th floor Westgate room at 9:15 p.m. on Sunday evening in an apparent suicide.

Da Silva was a senior majoring in Earth, Atmospheric and Planetary Sciences. She had planned to enter graduate school at MIT in January.

A meeting last night in the basement of Westgate brought friends together to discuss the unexpected loss. Friends expressed their surprise about Da Silva’s act, saying that she had seemed to be doing very well. Several friends commented on how she had helped them through difficult times.

Da Silva was a longtime resident of MacGregor house and served as its rush chair last year. She was known for her boisterous personality and her love of cartoons. She was also a longtime player on the women’s varsity ice hockey team. She is survived by her parents.

“This was a woman with enormous gifts and potential who was involved in a variety of things over the years,” said Associate Dean for Students Robert J. Randolph.

MIT seeks to improve counseling

MIT has made a number of attempts in recent years to increase the community’s awareness of depression and the available counseling services.

This fall, Randolph sent a letter to all freshman advisers which was written by the parent of an MIT student who committed suicide last year.

Randolph believes that the MIT community must become more open to the discussion of mental health issues. “The real issue is how do you create a community where people can ask for help,” he said. “Asking for help is not the MIT way.”

He believes that MIT must actively attempt to inform its students of the available counseling options. “The question is: how do we get information out to students about the resources that are available?” he said.

UA task force explores issue

The Undergraduate Association Committee on Student Life has created a special task force on mental health. “We’re trying to make it easier for students to come in to get help and to improve the services that are available,” said CSL co-chair David Mellis ’02.

In an attempt to discover ways in which MIT’s mental health counseling can be improved, the task force has distributed a survey to other colleges.

“A lot of schools call their services something less threatening than mental health,” Mellis said. Another key to effective mental health services is a strong feedback system.

Randolph believes that the community must look towards the future for improved mental health. “The real issue is what is going to happen, not what has already happened,” he said.