Death of Scout Schultz Highlights LGBTQ Mental Health Needs on Campus

Scout Schultz, a 21-year-old engineering student at Georgia Tech, was shot and killed by campus police Saturday night. Schultz’s family attorney said Schultz, who identified as nonbinary and intersex and preferred they/them pronouns, was experiencing a “mental breakdown” during their fatal encounter with police.

In a witness video, Schultz can be seen in front of a campus parking garage and yelling “shoot me!” at officers who had their guns drawn. Schultz continued to step toward the police, who warned Schultz to drop the object.

Following Schultz’s shooting death, the Georgia Bureau of Investigation revealed that Schultz made the 911 call to Georgia Tech Police alerting them to a suspicious person on campus and left three suicide notes in their dorm room.

The death of Scout Schultz, who had been president of Georgia Tech’s Pride Alliance, spawned violent student protests Monday following a memorial vigil on campus. It also, according to some advocates and health professionals, highlights the need for better mental health resources for LGBTQ college students.

“The fact is students aren’t getting the services they need, and some of it is not being aware that these services exist,” Lisa Sontag, a behavioral social scientist at the RAND Corporation and an author of a study on LGBTQ students and mental health told NBC News.

Sontag’s study found that while LGBTQ students — who she said suffer disproportionately from psychological stress — were more likely to seek out mental health services, they were also more likely to seek them off-campus.

“LGBTQ students report at higher rates than other students that they’re embarrassed to seek services and are concerned about confidentiality,” Sontag said. “Concerns about confidentiality and embarrassment in seeking services are probably among the biggest barriers that LGBTQ students face in being motivated to get connected to services on campus.”

Image: Georgia Tech student Scout Schultz

Georgia Tech student Scout Schultz.