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College student Amanda Hu’s death was ruled a suicide, a spokesperson at the Philadelphia Police Homicide Unit said early Wednesday morning.

Hu, 20, died in her bedroom on the 4000 block of Sansom Street late Sunday night. She was on a voluntary leave of absence from Penn at the time, working in a biochemistry lab.

President Amy Gutmann sent an email Tuesday to all undergraduates and parents in response to Hu’s death announcing the formation of a 24-hour helpline staffed by Counseling and Psychological Services trainees — an initiative the mental health task force proposed to students last week in a closed meeting.

“The subject of mental and emotional issues facing college and university students is a critically important one. More than 1,000 college students commit suicide each year on campuses across the country,” Gutmann’s email said. “While there are no easy answers to this national tragedy, please know that at Penn we are doing everything in our power to reach students in distress and provide them with the highest level of support and care.”

Hu’s suicide marks Penn’s sixth since August 2013. After a string of student deaths last semester, Gutmann formed the mental health task force to make recommendations to administrators on how to improve both resources and the campus climate surrounding mental health. The task force is expected to make its formal report in January 2015.

Hu grew up in the suburbs of Charlotte, N.C. At Penn, she had been involved in Penn Model Congress, Penn for Youth Debate and Penn Science Across Ages.

Anyone wishing to submit additional comments should contact reporter Sarah Smith at smith@thedp.com.

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