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School District Responds to Suicides

School District Responds to Suicides: Officials Asking Parents to Watch for Signs of Depression

By Kathleen Moore

For three months, Schenectady High School officials kept quiet the suicide deaths of two students and attempted suicides by two others. But when a third killed herself and another tried but was saved —the school said silence had become more dangerous than publicity.

Just days after telling a reporter that any discussion of the recent suicides would lead to more children killing themselves, the school district suddenly reversed itself Tuesday and sent home a letter to parents, baring all.

In it, they implored parents to watch for signs of depression in their teenagers and seek help immediately if any symptoms of depression surfaced.

"We're trying to get the information out there to get these kids help," Superintendent Eric Ely said. "It's a scary proposition. You don't want to publicize these things because they can and do lead to copycats and clusters. In a school district neighboring my own in my past, I've seen eight successful suicides in one year. I've seen large clusters."

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What Happened to Italy?

"WHAT HAPPENED TO ITALY ?"

Adapted by Al & Linda Vigil     (from an Essay by Emily P. Kingsley)
 

We are often asked to describe the experience of having lost a loved one to suicide, by people who have not had the loss happen to them, so that they can imagine and try to understand how we feel and thus maybe help us and others.

"You are going to feel," we tell them, "that what has happened to you has never happened to anyone else like you before. The belief that these things happen to other people, certainly not people like us, will be shattered forever."

We compare it to planning a trip,  -this being the trip through life ...but you're going to Italy. You have bought and studied all of the guidebooks. You know that you will visit Rome. The Coliseum. You will see the works of Michelangelo. You will ride the gondolas in Venice. You will even take the time to learn some handy phrases in Italian. Italy is going to fill a lifelong dream.

After months of eager anticipation the travel day finally arrives. You pack your bags, check your passports, and you get on that airplane. Off you fly into blue skies. Several hours later the plane lands. The stewardess comes down the aisle and says, "Welcome to Holland."

"Holland," you scream. "What happened to Italy? I signed up for Italy. I planned for Italy. All my life I've dreamed of Italy."

"But," she tells you, "there has been a change in plans. You have now landed in Holland and so ...here we are."

We must now convince ourselves that we haven't really been taken to a horrible, disgusting filthy place, full of pestilence, famine and disease. It's just a different place. A place that wasn't in our plans to ever travel to. So now you must go out and get new maps and new guidebooks. You must learn a whole new language. After some time you will meet a new group of people you would have never met before.

You will find that when you catch your breath, and you look around, you will begin to notice that Holland has windmills. Holland has Rembrandts. Hollad has tulips. Yes, you can learn to live with the un-expected Holland.

But, you will meet people who have been to Italy.  You will probably say to yourself, for the rest of your life,  "...yes, that's where I was supposed to go. That's what I had planned for myself."

For you  ...things will be different. And the pain of that loss will never, ever go away, because the loss of that dream will always be a very significant loss in your life. After the suicide of a loved one ...you are Forever Changed.

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