Loyola senior Dylan Balogh, who grew up in Chicago’s northwest suburbs and transferred to the university last year in pursuit of a degree in marketing, died Oct. 28.
The Cook County medical examiner’s office is awaiting “further studies” to formally determine the cause and manner of Balogh’s death, an agency spokeswoman said.
But Balogh’s family said the 22-year-old North Barrington native took his life after struggling with anxiety and depression for the past two years. Despite his best efforts to get better, Balogh was especially struggling over the past two months, according to his mother, Joanne Balogh.
Suicide is the second leading cause of death among Americans aged 15-34 years, according to a 2015 study from the Center for Disease Control (CDC). Between 2009-2012, more than five percent of people aged 12 years and older have experienced depression, according to the CDC. The National Institute of Mental Health reported that 18.1 percent of adults have lived with anxiety for at least 12 months.
Balogh’s death left those who knew him reeling. Ryan Balogh, brother of Dylan Balogh, encouraged others with mental health issues to seek help and said the issue is more pressing than we think.
“If we can take something from today, we should underscore that there is no shame in depression, and that mental illness is so much more prevalent in our society than some would want to believe,” Ryan Balogh, 34, said in a eulogy sent to The PHOENIX by Balogh’s mother.
Ryan Balogh’s eulogy offered advice to others with similar mental health issues.
“I hope that if you or someone you know is struggling with mental health challenges, do not be ashamed and get help. Seeking help should be considered a strength and certainly not a weakness,” Ryan Balogh said in the eulogy.
Joanne Balogh, Dylan Balogh’s mother, said many of her son’s friends and classmates told her stories of Balogh helping them with their own challenges.
“One thing I learned through this whole process is how many people, who are very close to us, are living with the same [mental illness] issues,” Joanne Balogh, 54, told the The PHOENIX. “I also learned from other students and friends that Dylan helped people with their own anxiety and depression while he was battling his.”
Joanne Balogh also said her son tried his best to get better, but “one brief moment when he was in a bad place took over.”
Ryan Balogh said his brother was “a determined fighter” who “tried so hard to get well.”
Loyola students were notified of Balogh’s passing in an email from Campus Ministry Oct. 31, which gave information about his visitation and funeral service. Services were held last week.
Balogh’s family requests donations be made in his name to Out of the Darkness Community Walks, an event which aims to prevent suicide, in lieu of flowers. According to the website, more than 5,500 people supported the cause during the most recent walk Sept. 23.
Loyola professor Stacy Neier Beran, who taught Balogh in two marketing courses, remembers his ambition and passion in class.
“Dylan was curious in a new way, he had an almost dazzling curiosity,” Beran said. “He was always alert and ready to take new information and make it meaningful for what he wanted to do.”
Beran also said Balogh was kind and compassionate toward his classmates.
“He was always the first person to say a really amazing, kind word to anyone,” Beran said. “He really knew how to pay forward compliments and recognition.”
Morgan Olszewski, a graduate student at Loyola pursuing a master’s in business ethics and entrepreneurship, said she knew Balogh since middle school.
Olszewski said she remembers Balogh celebrating a time his brother Zack, now a sophomore at the University of Dayton, hit a homerun during a championship baseball game. She said Balogh ran around the stadium, wanting everyone to know how proud he was of his little brother.
“His energy was just out of control, I could not believe how much energy [Balogh] had,” Olszewski said.
Olszewski, 22, said Balogh was welcoming and friendly, even upon first meeting him.
“He doesn’t shake hands,” Olszewski said. “He’s not a hand shaker. He would ultimately just wrap you in his arms and give you the biggest bear hug, whether you knew him or you didn’t. You could just feel the warmth and the happiness and the love that he gives you from the moment you met him.”
Yvette Dybas, a senior marketing major at Loyola, remembers Dylan as a “smiley kid who everyone loved.”
“There was not a day where Dylan Balogh wasn’t smiling from ear to ear, cracking jokes, or talking about the Cubs,” Dybas wrote in an email to The PHOENIX.
Dybas, Olszewski and senior advertising/public relations major Liah Cichon all mentioned Balogh’s love for the Chicago Cubs.
Cichon, who met Balogh during a marketing group project in fall 2016, said she remembers celebrating the Cubs’ World Series win with Balogh last November.
“I’ve never seen anyone so happy,” Cichon said. “Everyone was so happy but he was the happiest. Dylan loved the Cubs. He was hugging everyone and smiling and it was just the best, looking back on him that way is like the best for me.”
Dr. Susan Ries, Quinlan’s assistant dean of Undergraduate Programs, said she knew Balogh personally and remembers him as “a dedicated student interested in pursuing his academics here at the Quinlan School of Business.”
Faculty members encourage students who are struggling with the news to reach out and use campus resources.
“Loyola is all about care for community,” Beran said. “If you are feeling like you need more care, reach into your community.”
Dean of Quinlan School of Business Kevin Stevens advised students to utilize the Wellness Center, Campus Ministry or other faculty and staff members if they need to talk.
A 24-hour suicide prevention hotline is available at 1-800-273-8255, and Loyola’s Wellness Center (773-508-2530) offers suicide prevention services as well.