Demitri Allison, who played football for Elon University, was killed in a fall from a UNC Chapel Hill residence hall on Wednesday. Although the University of North Carolina Police Department confirmed the 21-year-old took his own life, it is unclear what was troubling the talented young man.
According to reports, Demitri left the Elon University campus on Tuesday evening. As he was in a bad emotional state, and was not answering his phone, his family and friends were terribly concerned for his well-being.
In an official statement, Elon University Dean of Students, G. Smith Jackson, said Allison’s family and friends eventually contacted authorities to assist in their search for the missing man.
Unfortunately, Demitri Allison was found dead on the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill campus the following day. As reported by WBTV, authorities confirmed the young man jumped from Morrison Residence Hall and fell to his death.
On Thursday afternoon, the football player’s family, friends, and teammates met at Rhodes Stadium for a “Gathering of Friends.”
Head bowed in prayer as a fellow teammate leads the crowd in honoring Demitri Allison. pic.twitter.com/HZ7ga4i7oJ
— Jennie Hook (@JennieHook) November 12, 2015
Athletics Director Dave Blank said “everyone associated with Elon athletics is devastated.” Blank said Demitri will be remembered as “a talented young man with a bright future who was loved by his teammates.”
As reported by Bleacher Report, Demitri Allison had an impressive record with the Elon University football team. During his sophomore year, he finished second on the team with 55 catches for 525 yards and two touchdowns.
The Elon football team’s chaplain and the university’s counseling services are working together to provide support to anyone in need.
In the official statement, G. Smith Jackson encouraged “anyone who would like to talk about their feelings of loss or concern for others” to contact Elon Counseling Services or the Truitt Center for Religious and Spiritual Life. A counselor is also available after hours at the Elon Campus Safety and Police department.
In addition to being the wide receiver for the Elon Phoenix football team, Demitri Allison was a junior majoring in management. The young man was a native of Cornelius, North Carolina, where his parents, Mark and Lisa Hartman, currently reside.
Although it is unclear what prompted Demitri to take his own life, suicide is a troubling reality at colleges and universities throughout the United States.
— FOX8 WGHP (@myfox8) November 12, 2015
Research conducted by the Suicide Prevention Resource Center suggests nearly 8 percent of undergrads and graduate students have seriously considered committing suicide. Between 0.6 and 1.2 percent actually attempt to take their own life.
Risk factors for suicide include behavioral health disorders and adverse or stressful life circumstances. Students with a family history of suicide are also at a higher risk.
As reported by the University of California Berkeley, “suicide is the second leading cause of death in college-age students.” Unfortunately, a majority of teens and young adults who commit suicide are suffering with an undiagnosed or untreated major depressive disorder.
The Suicide Prevention Resource Center has identified several warning signs, which may indicate someone is contemplating taking their own life. The warning signs can include discussing death and suicide, researching suicide methods, increased use of alcohol and drugs, and withdrawing from family and friends.
College campuses throughout the United States, including Elon University, offer mental health counseling services to students in need. Although 50 percent of those who eventually commit suicide do not seek help, an estimated 50 percent do seek “medical help within six months before their deaths.”
Although it is too late for Demitri Allison, it is hoped that his story will encourage those who are depressed to seek help. Counselors are available 24/7 through the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255.