PE Associate Jumps to Death / Discussion on Mental Health

Hi guys - was surprised I didn't see a post on this, so figured I would make one. Last night there was an article published on Business Insider about a 25 year old PE Associate that jumped to death at Windsor Court. He worked at a Growth Equity firm called GreyLion. It's behind a paywall, so I've pasted the text below:

Drew Miller, a 25-year-old private-equity associate from Warren, New Jersey, was found dead outside of a high-rise apartment complex in New York City on Monday. The cause of death was suicide, his father, Andrew Miller, told Insider by phone on Wednesday.

"Suicide is not a rational act. We're all devastated," Andrew Miller said, speaking on behalf of his family.

Miller fell from the high-rise building Windsor Court, which is located on Lexington Avenue between East 31st and 32nd Streets. His body was found by police after they responded to 911 calls shortly after about 8 a.m. Monday morning.  

Emergency-medical-services personnel pronounced Miller dead at the scene, according to Annette Shelton, a spokesperson for the New York Police Department. Shelton confirmed Miller's identity in an email to Insider on Tuesday afternoon, and added that an investigation was underway.

Since April, Miller had been working as an associate at GreyLion Capital, a New York firm focused on growth-stage investments. GreyLion was spun out from the asset-management arm of Perella Weinberg Partners last year.

"Drew was an incredibly bright and talented individual who was well liked and highly regarded by all who had the pleasure of working with him," Jody Shechtman, a partner and the head of marketing and business development at GreyLion, wrote in an emailed statement to Insider on Tuesday afternoon.

"We are incredibly saddened by his passing. Our deepest sympathies are with Drew's family and loved ones during this difficult time," Shechtman added.

Andrew Miller added that senior executives from GreyLion had been in touch with the Miller family to express their condolences.

AM New York, a local publication, reported the death of an unnamed man on Monday but did not identify him in its article

Miller's body was found with several personal effects, AMNY reported. Among them were a backpack and duffel bag, a laptop computer, a tablet, medication, and house keys, the outlet said.

Before joining GreyLion, Miller was an investment-banking analyst at Cain Brothers, a healthcare-focused investment bank which was acquired by KeyBanc in 2017

Cain Brothers CEO Robert Fraiman and Chief Administrative Officer Danielle LeBenger did not immediately return Insider's request for comment on Tuesday afternoon.

Miller worked at Cain Brothers from 2018 to 2021. He attended Indiana University's Kelley School of Business from 2014 to 2018 and obtained a bachelor's degree in finance, according to his LinkedIn page.

Suicide is complex, and the reasons behind a suicide are not always immediately clear. Risk factors include mental illness or a history of trauma, and many people considering suicide exhibit warning signs. Treatment is available to help people overcome suicidal thoughts and better cope.

Obviously without greater context or knowledge of this specific situation, we can't attribute his death directly to the stress of his job, but I think it's an opportunity to have a broader discussion on the topic - the grass isn't always greener in PE. I personally struggled greatly with my mental health during my banking stint, and fortunately I've exited to a PE firm with a really great culture where I'm much less anxious / stressed all the time. But I have friends at other firms that are still struggling, and I just wanna say that no job should take priority over your mental or physical health. It's very easy to get caught up in the next deadline or deliverable and push off finding space to destress, but I'd urge any of you that are struggling to carve out at least an hour a week to speak to a mental health professional. Have an honest conversation with your VP or whoever you work with and say, don't ask, that you'll be having a recurring doctor's appointment once a week that you'll need to be offline for. I sincerely believe they'll respect you more for creating boundaries, and if it's really an issue, then that's a clear sign you should find a new place to work. I've found it absolutely invaluable to have that appointment set on my calendar every week. Your firm should have a telehealth platform available to you - use it. I hope this post can be a wake up call for any of you that need help - feel free to hit me with a DM if you want to talk.

Comments (42)

Dec 2, 2021 - 1:15pm

I also have a standing 45 minute weekly time block during the work day for a telehealth appointment with my psychiatrist, I had a conversation with my VP on it and it was a no-brainer. If you feel like you'd benefit from hearing my experience with having that conversation and subsequently finding a mental health professional, please shoot me a note and I'd be happy to talk.

  • Associate 2 in PE - LBOs
Dec 2, 2021 - 1:30pm

I never had mental health issues until going to PE (previously was consulting) and now I use mental health services. Being here has been good in that it has given me good clarity into what I want out of life. Just a data point for anyone reading.

  • Analyst 1 in IB-M&A
Dec 2, 2021 - 5:16pm

Mental health is serious. Individuals shouldn't feel bad seeking help. Employers shouldn't overwork their juniors. There needs to be change and it has to come fast. RIP to the kid he was only 25. 

Most Helpful
Dec 2, 2021 - 11:25pm

Truly a tragic situation. As someone in his mid 30s, I'd like to share my perspective with the younger cohort. I think folks in their 20s get so easily sucked into the whirlwind of the "lights and glamour", the fake prestige BS of banking/PE. These kids put undue pressure and stress on themselves because they don't have much life experience outside of their time in college and 2 years in banking, so they don't really understand (through no fault of their own) that ultimately it doesn't matter if you're GS TMT or Apollo PE. At the end of the day it's still just a day job and you're collecting checks, you're not the founder and CEO of your company so don't put that founder kind of pressure on yourself. Your physical and mental wellbeing is so much more valuable and takes priority over an ultra-neurotic VP or Principal and their bullshit. I don't know what kind of mental breaking points super achievers have in these PE MFs or other ultra-demanding groups, and some people can easily deal with that and compartmentalize, but if you're constantly experiencing mental anguish/suffering and pushing your breaking points and not enjoying your work, that particular seat isn't for you anyway and you should lateral to a less intense and more under-the-radar fund/group. I don't know what kind of environment this individual dealt with at his shop, but I speculate and suspect that there were issues here that went beyond work stress. Long story short, a truly sad situation, but the takeaway is at the junior or mid-levels of any ultra-demanding finance seat, you're not driving the bus nor are you reaping the equity benefits that the partners/equity stakeholders are deriving from your blood labor, so please make it a point to value your mental + physical wellbeing over bi-weekly paycheck, because if you don't then no one else will. 

  • NA in RE - Comm
Dec 3, 2021 - 9:39am

1,000,000% (I am also someone a bit older on here). For me, I started therapy over a decade ago after my boyfriend/fiance was diagnosed with a rare cancer and committed suicide when it progressed to end of life / palliative care. Talking to friends helped, but I was feeling lonely and helpless despite having friends and soon-to-be family who also lost the same guy. It helped me to process my grief with a third-party individual who was trained to talk about this. Today, I personally choose to continue attending therapy - sometimes at a less frequent cadence - because I need to work on my mental health in a similar manner to flossing. I find that waiting until an acutely traumatic event occurs leaves me in a worse place than having the consistent space to talk to someone (even if some weeks are me babbling about bullshit). It is a non-negotiable for me in any job. I tell employers I have a recurring appointment. I had my therapist literally coach me on how to have this conversation when I was 25 and still have this convo every time in my 30s. For me, it's a necessary boundary and tells me more than enough about my fit with a team. The whole "you're interviewing them too!" thing is real when people show you that the job environment will fuck with your health, even before starting...believe them when they wave those red flags. Trust me. 
 

All of this is to say that anyone reading this and struggling: you're not alone, but it is totally possible that you may feel that way. And it can be intimidating to ask for you, but please do. Your life matters. The world and your loved ones do want you here. 

Dec 3, 2021 - 8:02pm

Another piece is for current parents and to-be parents to remember this. There are too many instances of people going into these jobs because parents are putting pressure on their children that work and making money is everything. I'm sure many folks have dealt with telling their parents they are having a hard time at work, or want to take some time off, and the parents respond saying it won't look good or people might think they're lazy and it might jeopardize their future. That is very damaging!

Dec 3, 2021 - 4:55pm

Just want to pile in on saying that mental health should be taken seriously by everyone. If you had some illness (like bronchitis) you wouldn't hide going to a doctor about it. Or if you broke your arm, you're not going to "map up and keep using your keyboard" and hide a sling. Mental health is absolutely no different.

Setting boundaries at work is tough but necessary too. Like others said, it's important to tell them "Hey I have a standing appointment at 3:30P every Wednesday. Happy to make sure my work gets done regardless, but I'll be offline for that hour." 

“The three most harmful addictions are heroin, carbohydrates, and a monthly salary.” - Nassim Taleb
  • 2
  • Intern in IB - Restr
Dec 3, 2021 - 7:07pm

Danielle LeBenger ignores everybody's emails. Ghosted everyone at my school after interviews. 
 

On a serious note though someone near me committed suicide recently, and I wish seniors would be more understanding and not all about the "I suffered, so you should too" mentality. Spoke with one MD at an MM in Chicago that shat on the GS13 so hard.

  • Incoming Analyst in IB - Cov
Dec 4, 2021 - 2:25am

seeing this article was really strange for me. I'm actually a first year in IB who took today off because I've really been in a bad mental space these past few weeks. I think I might have depression, this entire week I've been nearly unable to pull myself out of bed and I'd been dodging emails and calls at work just straight up. Eventually a director called me and i figured I should probably respond. They suggested that I take the rest of the week off (via sick days) and talk to a therapist, which i did for the first time two days ago. The kicker to all this is I have a pretty robust support system and I'm not even working in a super sweaty group - some people might shit on me but I just think it goes to show that you can have mental health issues at any time and place in life. My heart goes out to people everywhere who are struggling with mental health who just don't have the resources, courage, time, or any number of factors to sort out their lives. It starts with all of us to check in on coworkers and treat people who are struggling with kindness. Fellow juniors, if you are struggling, please find the courage to get support. Living your life miserably isn't worth getting a few thousand dollars a month. Your life is so much more important than that.

Dec 4, 2021 - 4:22am

Just so you know, that was very brave and courageous of you. It's critical that people follow good examples such as yourself and make any qualms or issues regarding your mental health known. So many times just leaving such issues can lead to tragic situations such as OPs article. Godspeed on whatever it is your are going through and good on you for identifying it and tackling it head-on.

  • 6
  • Analyst 1 in IB - Gen
Dec 4, 2021 - 11:36am

Hey man just a stranger but hope you take care of yourself and talk to a therapist. Your life is valuable and hopefully you can get out of that negative headspace.

  • Associate 2 in RE - Other
Dec 4, 2021 - 3:27pm

I'm so glad you found a therapist! I hope they're a good match for you, and don't be afraid to "fire" your therapist and move on to one who is more effective. I once worked with a therapist who was perfectly fine and kind but we just didn't vibe super well. Found a new one, and I LOVE her. 

Just want to also add my $0.20 here and say that I agree with sentiment here. The agreement we strike with our employers is to exchange our skills and brainpower in exchange for money, and not to sell our souls. But most of our bosses won't care how much you're struggling; they have the "I did it, and I turned out fine" mentality. It sucks, but if they didn't, they'd have to admit to themselves that instead of dying a hero, they lived long enough to become the villain. So don't be afraid to admit when it's time to walk away and fuck them all. 

Dec 4, 2021 - 1:57pm

Thanks for creating a conversation around an important topic. 

I wanted to add in some thoughts and resources but it wasn't letting me reply to this thread (It was probably too long), so I made it a separate post and further expanded upon it. 

I'm unable to link it as this is a throw-away account, so please take a look at my post if you're struggling and would like to hear my 2 cents.

If anyone is able to link it below for ease of access, that would be appreciated.

  • Analyst 1 in IB - Gen
Dec 4, 2021 - 2:25pm

Seeing some of the recent posts on this forum overall, I can't help but feel that things are just getting worse out there? Anyone else feel this way? I worry for men in their 20s more than any other demographic honestly. How does this get better? I'm lucky to be at a shop where people are relatively reasonable but that's not a solution for all this it seems. There are deeper rooted issues in our society based on what we value and idolize. Probably doesn't help that this next gen just starting their careers are being set up to get fucked with the way college costs, inflation, unstable markets are going.

  • Analyst 2 in RE - Comm
Dec 6, 2021 - 4:17pm

I'm super worried. I make good money and work at a great firm but I can't help to see how much the cost of everything is going up. I work in multi and its sad to see that rents growing to unimaginable highs. I just moved out a few months ago and it sucks seeing 30% of my after tax income going to a crappy apartment with roommates. 

I got lucky to get most of my college covered with scholarships and got on wso early.

Dec 6, 2021 - 11:50am

I think it's important for everyone in this industry to realize a few things - i) we are voluntarily choosing to be in these seats; ii) prestige truly is a myth in the big scheme of things; and iii) we have the power to leave these seats at any time, for any reason with little repercussions. And contrary to popular belief, we are not solving for success here, we are solving for comfort / security; ironically resulting in neither, just lots of spent energy making someone else wealthy.

There are truly endless ways to make money out there, this is the easy / safe way. The true path to outsized wealth has always been and always will be equity ownership. Keep in mind that most PE partners don't have the net worth of the founders / owners they are negotiating with. 

Perspective is the best therapy. 

Funniest
  • Associate 2 in PE - LBOs
Dec 6, 2021 - 12:17pm

Re: prestige, I'll never forget going to a local townie bar in rural Colorado. I had a good time hanging with locals but work came up at one point and they laughed at me for working in private equity and said "working nonstop sounds like a job for losers" which stuck with me

Dec 19, 2021 - 2:47pm

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