$630K College Student Suicide Malpractice Verdict Involving Iowa State’s Counseling Center

On August 14, 2019, an Iowa medical malpractice jury returned its verdict in the amount of $630,000 for the negligence of Iowa State University’s Counseling Center, which was reduced by 50% for the negligence of the Iowa State student who committed suicide after obtaining mental health counseling at the Counseling Center.

The student’s parents filed their Iowa medical malpractice lawsuit alleging that their son exhibited symptoms of major depression but the Counseling Center diagnosed him as being mildly depressed. The parents’ mental health malpractice lawsuit alleged that their son had five counseling sessions at the Counseling Center and during the third session, he revealed that he was contemplating suicide, he had researched the idea of suicide, and that he also researched methods of committing suicide. The parents alleged that the Counseling Center did not take their son’s comments seriously.

The son was starting his third year at Iowa State and was experiencing stress that his parents attributed to normal stress experienced by college students. They suggested that he seek mental health counseling at the Counseling Center, recalling the discussions with other parents at the beginning of their son’s college career that the Counseling Center was “really good.”

The parents believe that the triggering event that set their son on the path to suicide occurred in August 2015, the weekend before school started and two months before he committed suicide. Their son had attended a Pokeman tournament in Boston with some friends and, without their son’s knowledge, his friends had transported guns with them across state lines. The FBI reportedly raided their hotel room and interrogated their son and his friends. Their son was not charged but his friends were reportedly convicted of carrying firearms across state lines. Their son entered mental health counseling at the Counseling Center in the end of September 2015.

After the Iowa mental health malpractice verdict was rendered, the mother stated, “Really, for me, it was just about being able to tell my story, get the word out about mental health and the approach that these universities are taking to distressed college students. That was the number one goal for me.”


College Suicide Statistics

6% of undergraduates and 4% of graduate students in 4-year colleges have “seriously considered attempting suicide” in the past year—and nearly half of each group did not tell anyone.

The suicide rate among young adults, ages 15-24, has tripled since the 1950s and suicide is currently the second most common cause of death among college students.

1,100 suicides occur at colleges every year.

1 in 12 college students have actually made a suicide plan at some point.

1.5 out of 100 college students have actually attempted suicide.

Twice as many young men as women, ages 20-24, commit suicide.

In the past 50 years, the suicide rate for those ages 15-24 increased by over 200%.

Individuals aged 15-24 commit suicide about every two hours.


If you lost a loved one due to suicide in Iowa or in another U.S. state for which mental health negligence may have caused or contributed to the death, you should find a medical malpractice lawyer in Iowa or in your state who may investigate your suicide claim for you and represent you or your loved one’s family in a suicide malpractice case, if appropriate.

Click on the “Contact Us Now” tab to the right, visit our website, or call us toll-free in the United States at 800-295-3959 to be connected with medical malpractice lawyers in your state who may assist you.

Turn to us when you don’t know where to turn.

This entry was posted on Wednesday, October 2nd, 2019 at 5:26 am. Both comments and pings are currently closed.


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