Thursday, January 24, 2013

Prof. Daniel Havey, 34

source: Chemjobber
This post puts a rather final note on the emotional "Grad School Mental Health" discussion many of us wrote about two weeks ago.

A few days ago, I received a tip from a trusted source about the 'sudden passing' of a (very) young professor. A brief search confirmed the worst: Prof. Daniel Havey, a physical / atmospheric chemist at James Madison University, dead at 34. Requiescat in pacem. Further reports, passed along from the JMU Breeze, indicated that he had committed suicide. He was found in his lab.

What a tragedy.

We don't yet know why Dan felt such grief. I'm sure more details will emerge in the coming weeks. However, on the heels of our discussions earlier this month, I must speak up: we work in a highly stressful field, and the mental health of yourself and your coworkers should be of utmost concern. If you've ever felt like you can't go on, get help! Please.

In an ideal world, we'd all be writing fewer posts like these. Be well, everyone. -SAO


  1. I'm so sorry to hear about this :(. When I was in grad school, a postdoc in our lab committed suicide, and it was absolutely devastating (still is).

    I want to reiterate, if you are feeling exhausted, depressed, and at the end of your rope, or know someone who is, please talk to someone! Get help from mental health professionals! Remember that your friends and family care about you and want the best for you in terms of your health and happiness.

  2. I was a close friend of Dan Havey, the tragic decision to take his own life had nothing to do with his job. He loved teaching and his research. I have never known anyone who loved being in the lab more than Dan. The tormnents he had were from his personal life, not his job. While I know how stressful graduate school and academia can be, there is always a choice. Unfortunately, Dan made the wrong choice.

    1. PAB - Thank you for sharing. I'm sorry for your loss of a good friend.