Freshman English major Richard Naitoh looked forward to his classes and listening to his professors. It was what got him through the day, his father said.
John Naitoh of La Jolla, Richard Naitoh’s father, said his son, who had been battling depression, would struggle to get through the week. His only light at the end of the tunnel was school.
“He loved his professors; he loved his classes, but he felt lonely at the dorms,” John Naitoh said.
At 1 a.m. on Sunday, residents of Beachside College, where Richard Naitoh lived, contacted University Police and reported that a student wasn’t breathing, University Police Captain Scott Brown said. When police arrived, the student was found dead in his dorm room.
The Los Angeles County coroner’s office identified the student on Monday as Richard Naitoh.
Brown said via email that all indications are Richard Naitoh died by his own actions; however, the Los Angeles County coroner’s office is still investigating and has yet to determine the cause of death.
Richard Naitoh had previously been hospitalized for depression and had been on a series of anti-depressants that didn’t have much effect, his father said. John Naitoh said his son wasn’t able to connect with fellow residents and struggled with loneliness, but his son might have been too sick to see that there were people who cared for him.
“It sounds like a lot of people expressed affection for my son, but he never relayed that to us,” John Naitoh said.
John Naitoh said his son wanted to be a writer. When he wasn’t taking photos or playing the guitar, he was writing poetry, John Naitoh said.
“He was very bright, very sensitive, shy,” John Naitoh said.
On Sunday night a team from Counseling and Psychological Services offered their services in the Pacific Multipurpose Room at Beachside for students who needed to speak to a member of the counseling staff.
According to junior psychology major Michael Segovia, about 40 students met with the team of counselors.
Segovia said many residents of Beachside were mostly confused.
“I feel people don’t realize they do have people here for them,” he said. “We live here together for a reason, because we’re a community and we’re here to help each other out.”
John Naitoh said he wants his son to be remembered as well as students to watch for signs of suicide in their fellow classmates and to give support to Project OCEAN, a mental health initiative aimed at helping Cal State Long Beach students identify the early warning signs of suicide.
“If they want to remember Rick they should be there for each other,” John Naitoh.
Assistant News Editor Rabiya Hussain contributed to this report.