The Columbia first-year student who fell to her death hours after she was dropped off at school by her parents "attempted suicide last year, and was briefly institutionalized," according to the NY Post. Police believe that Martha Corey-Ochoa, 18, committed suicide from her 14th floor John Jay dormitory window: The Post's sources say that Corey-Ochoa "contacted her parents 'and reported she felt suicidal."
Corey-Ochoa had been valedictorian at Dobbs Ferry High School, with a challenging schedule of "four IB classes and AP Calculus," as well as numerous extracurricular activities. The Dobbs Ferry school district told the Columbia Spectator, "She was really looking forward to attending Columbia."
Her grieving father seemed to be in shock when talking to the Journal News, "We were very proud of her because I went to Columbia as well. She was very excited, too. She looked a little sad when she was saying goodbye to us. But she was controlled. She had it together." He added, "It’s just too painful to talk about. I feel like she was my life and, without her, my life seems to be gone. I don’t know what I’m doing now. We built our lives around her — and now she’s gone."
And the director of the Center for Suicide Risk Assessment at Columbia University, Dr. Kelly Posner, told the Journal News that suicide is the second leading cause of death of college freshmen (90% of suicide "stem from untreated mental illness, mainly depression, and that prevention efforts must be a primary focus"), "This is just not an uncommon story. Students who transition from high school to college are often very excited about this new transition in their lives, but they’re exposed to expectations and circumstances that place them at risk for psychiatric disorders, for feeling depressed or anxious, and it may exacerbate pre-existing problems."
Columbia has been reaching out to students, offering them counseling services, "We would like to remind you all to never underestimate the strength and kindness of those around you, no matter how recently you may have met them. We extend our deepest condolences to everyone affected by this tragedy, and ask that commenters use the space respectfully."