This is such painful news. To have had your child survive a school shooting and then die a year later by suicide is unimaginable. Within the same week, a Sandy Hook mom who lost her daughter in that Connecticut school shooting also lost her husband to suicide.
Calvin Desir, 16, who took his life late Saturday, March 13, 2019, was a second survivor of the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School to die by suicide in a week. Nineteen-year-old Sydney Aiello, who recently graduated from the school, took her own life only a week prior.
Following these teen suicides, was the shocking news of 49-year-old Jeremy Richman who killed himself within the same week. Richman had started a brain research foundation after his daughter, Avielle Richman, was killed in the 2012 school Sandy Hook shootings.
We don’t know all the reasons these individuals died by suicide. But trauma and complicated grief do increase suicide risk. It begs the question of what are we doing after these traumatizing events to see that people get the care they need?
It’s spring, the time of year when there are more suicides. They peak in April. So what does that mean? Listen. Please listen. What are your friends saying?
Are they saying they are a burden? Are they saying they don’t want to do this any more? Are they talking about death a lot? Is something not feeling right about someone you know? Are they withdrawing from activities they previously enjoyed?
Don’t hesitate to stop, find somewhere private and ask, “Are you thinking of suicide?”
Because people want to tell. How do I know? I have articles all over the internet that people find from Google. Kids as young as 9 and adults as old as 68 have googled something, landed here and left a comment or sent a message. They want to talk. They want to tell someone.
Asking the question, makes it easier for people to tell. I can’t say what all the causes were but what is obvious is that all of these people were suffering unspeakable and agonizing pain and thought death was their only option. I honor their struggle and their pain and who they were. My heart goes out to the survivors.
So stop. Listen. Ask the question. “Are you thinking of suicide?’
- Sandy Hook Father who died by suicide
- Two students take their lives a little over a year after the Parkland massacre