Saint Louis University swimmer Sean North died on April 5. According to an email sent by to the student body by the school’s administration, the cause of death was suicide.
North was 20 years old.
“Right now, our focus is on wrapping his loved ones with support,” SLU’s email said. “Know that we share this information so we can help each other heal. We cannot destigmatize death by suicide, ideation or mental-health needs more broadly if we cannot name them.”
North was a sophomore on the Saint Louis University swimming & diving team. As a freshman, he was a member of SLU’s Atlantic 10 Conference Championship team, where he finished 25th in the 500 free, 30th in the 100 fly, 26th in the 100 fly, and swam a leg on the school’s 7th-place 200 medley relay.
He was also named a member of the Atlantic 10 Commissioner’s Honor Roll.
A native of Leawood, Kansas, he attended Blue Valley North High School where as a junior, he was named a NISCA All-American. In 2020, he was the Kansas High School 6A runner-up in both the 50 and 100 yard freestyles.
North swam his last meet for SLU on January 22nd in a dual against nearby UMSL.
North’s death is one of several suicides on St. Louis University’s campus during this academic term. The school faced two student suicides in less than two weeks in the fall. Two other deaths of individuals on campus, a graduate student and a resident physician, were also announced in early April, with no cause of death attached.
According to the American College Health Association, suicide rates among 15-24 year olds have risen by 51% over the last decade. A 2010 study by Johns Hopkins and the University of South Carolina found that roughly 1,100 college students dy by suicide every year, which is the second-leading cause of death among college students.