The Parkland, Florida community is in mourning after 2 teenage survivors of the Parkland school shooting took their own lives last week. Police say a male student killed himself just days after recent graduate Sydney Aiello took her own life.
Both students were on campus the day of the mass shooting that claimed 17 lives at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School last year.
Aiello’s mother, Cara Aiello, told CBS4 in Miami that her daughter killed herself because of “survivor’s guilt”. The 19-year-old reportedly struggled to attend college classes because of PTSD.
Police said Sunday they are still investigating the circumstances of the latest suicide, according to the Miami Herald.
A group of 60 law enforcement officials, mental health counselors, teachers and parents attended an emergency meeting to discuss the suicides on Sunday.
Parents who attended the meeting said the Broward County School Superintendent’s Office is working to reach out to all parents whose children are out on Spring Break.
The district will give the parents a set of six questions to ask their children. Depending upon the answers, the parents will be given several options including emergency resource services.
Experts have linked the nationwide rise in youth suicide rates to higher incidents of bullying and the Internet, particularly the peer pressure young people encounter on social media.
In a shocking statistic, one third of children who visited emergency rooms in the United States were treated for suicide attempts in 2018. Of that statistic, 37% were Black children.
A study released in 2017 and presented at the Pediatric Academic Societies Meeting found that children and teenagers admitted to hospitals for thoughts of suicide or self harm have more than doubled during the last decade.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in Atlanta found the suicide rate for children age 10 to 14 doubled from 2007 to 2014. Suicides outnumbered auto accidents in that age group, the report showed.
Dr. Dan Nelson of the Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center said the media is exposing more children to harmful content “and so kids get exposed to more and more things.”
The mental health community is calling on lawmakers to pass laws that limit the age of children who have access to the Internet.
The following are signs to watch for in children who may have suicidal thoughts:
Experts suggest installing child-protection software on cell phones and other devices to block social media and restrict the content your child views online. Also, routinely monitor your child’s computer history to see what sites he’s visiting or the search terms he is looking up.
The 24-hour National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is 1-800-273-TALK (8255).
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