Volume 92, Issue 93

Wednesday, March 24, 1999


Second election possible

Liberals claim tuition decrease

Waterloo announces hike

Western to give high school students early admissions

"VP-fun" Cousineau says so long

Celebrity suicides raise bigger issue


Campus crime catches fire

Caught on campus

Celebrity suicides raise bigger issue

By Elliott Platt
Gazette Staff

Sitcom actor David Strickland was found dead in the Oasis Motel in Las Vegas Monday morning.

Strickland played the role of Todd, a music critic in the sitcom Suddenly Susan which stars Brooke Shields. He had been on the show for the last three seasons.

"We received a 911 call at 10:51 a.m. [Monday] morning from an employee at the Oasis Motel. Officers and paramedics arrived at the motel and found a deceased male, later identified as David Strickland," said Lieut. Wayne Peterson of the Las Vegas Police Department. He added the cause of death was hanging.

Peterson added the police are still not sure why Strickland committed suicide, but they may have a better idea in two weeks when they receive the results from toxicology tests.

Strickland has appeared in various episodes of Roseanne and Dave's World. He also had recurring roles on Sister and Mad About You, where he played Paul Reiser's co-worker.

Mike Atkinson, a Western psychology professor, said the results of a psychology study show there is reason for concern following the suicide of a celebrity. In the month following such suicides there is typically a 30 per cent increase in overall suicide rates.

As for the causes of suicide, Jack Russel, counsellor at psychological services in the Student Development Centre, said it can be due to a loss of someone close, a relationship break-up, financial loss, perceived failure, disappointment and depression.

Insp. Bob Earle with the University Police Department said suicides and suicide attempts happen at Western from time to time. "Last year at Western there were two incidents of attempted suicide and no actual deaths."

Among individuals contemplating taking their life, 80 per cent give a prior warning through giving away some of their personal belongings or just saying goodbye unexpectedly, Russel said.

"The way people can help their friends if they are contemplating suicide is by being supportive, listening and getting the necessary help," he added. "This can be done by taking their friend to the emergency room at the hospital or by taking their friend to the Student Development Centre."

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Copyright The Gazette 1999