Paul L. Caron

Sunday, July 7, 2019

Buffalo Law Student Dies From Suicide, Family Establishes Mental Health Fund For Athletes

Benedict, Buffalo Law Student Dies From Suicide, Family Establishes Mental Health Fund:

Matthew Benedict, a law student at the University of Buffalo School of Law and a summer associate at local law firm, died Monday from suicide injuries, his family said. 

Benedict, 26, on Monday jumped to his death from Buffalo’s Liberty Building, where he was a summer associate at midsize firm Rupp Baase Pfalzgraf Cunningham.

Since his death, his family has established a fundMatthew Benedict’s One Last Goal, to seek donations for raising awareness of mental health issues.

His mother, Anne Benedict, said Matthew had been struggling with mental health issues, including depression and anxiety, for about five years, since he suffered a concussion from playing football in Middlebury College, where he was a captain of the Vermont college’s football team. Anne said he was diagnosed with post-concussion syndrome and his depression was the result of the injuries.

“A lot of athletes try to become lawyers and they’re dealing with the same thing,” she said. “There are lot of people out there [with these issues] but not a lot try to talk about it.” ...

While he suffered from depression before joining law school, his father, William Benedict, said going to law school initially helped him in guiding him on a career path.

But, “overtime there was an awful lot of stress” during law school, William said. This summer, Matthew was taking two classes at the law school while working the summer associate position, his family said.

“It became extremely stressful for him,” Anne Benedict said, adding she recalls he was worried about taking and passing the bar exam. He was also worried he was not doing a good enough job at the law firm, his mother said, but she later learned from the firm’s partners he “was doing a stellar job.”

His family said Matthew had very supportive professors at University of Buffalo’s law school.  ...

Matthew wrote about his own mental health struggles on a blog titled “Start the Conversation Now: Life is Precious” to raise awareness of depression and to inspire more people to help others who suffer from depression. In the blog, Matthew said he suffered “two severe episodes of depression” during a two-year period.

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My sincerest condolences to Matthew's family and friends. My heart is broken for them.
I do not know how many concussions Matthew had, however, it only takes one concussion to do unimaginable damage. Unfortunately, I speak from experience. My son was just 12 years old when he sustained a concussion while playing little loop football. Since that day in October 2013, he has had a headache EVERY day. He too has post-concussion syndrome. My former honor student can no longer process math, has sensitivity to sound & light, suffers from dizziness & fatigue, and has memory issues, ETC. He was a young boy with a bright future. In his words, "he lost his childhood!" He suffers from depression and anxiety but WILL NOT talk about it! This stigma MUST end. He became known as one of the "stupid" kids in school! 5 1/2 years of medical treatment with not much improvement. He now receives Botox injections in his head and neck every 3 months (30+ shots!) My son recently graduated from high school and doesn't believe he has a future given his daily symptoms. Please do not take concussions lightly - they can change someones life in an instant. My warning to parents - think twice before you suit-up your son in a football uniform and send him out onto the football field. Concussions happen at the youth football, high school, and collegiate levels. Is it worth the risk? And yes, concussions happen in every sport! Post-concussion syndrome is an "invisible" injury but just like mental health issues, the struggle is very real for those who suffer in silence. We need to "Start the Conversation Now" as Matthew Benedict wanted to help others!

Posted by: Jackie | Jul 9, 2019 12:00:11 PM

How many concussions did he have?

Posted by: Amanda | Jul 8, 2019 7:58:42 AM