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Spotting the warning signs

Original post made on Aug 30, 2010

High school staff went back to school for suicide-prevention training, following a "surprisingly high" number of attempted suicides by Mountain View and Los Altos high school students last year, and the much-publicized suicide cluster at Gunn High School in Palo Alto in 2009.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Monday, August 30, 2010, 11:54 AM

Comments (8)

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Posted by LogOff
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Aug 30, 2010 at 2:30 pm

Lets see, a generation of teens armed with all manor of devices that help them tune out the real world and dissolve into the screen of their hand-helds, isolating them completely so their problems only worsen and fester. In 20 years the numbers will tell the tale but the cell phone companies will say the studies are flawed.

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Posted by dont-do-it
a resident of Monta Loma
on Aug 30, 2010 at 2:45 pm

I am grateful for seminars like this for school staff. But how about one for the public (including the parents), too? Everyone should be vigilent about helping teenagers cope, especially to assist those students who feel enormous pressure to get into the college of their parents' dreams, think they are incapable, and know of only one way out. The pressure to succeed academically can be way too much, and everyone can help, not just the staff.

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Posted by TheRealDeal
a resident of another community
on Aug 31, 2010 at 9:19 am

It's no mystery where these high number of suicides is coming from.
Why not publish the number of our students who are on psychiatric drugs? These are powerful chemicals with many side effects---one of which is suicidal thoughts.
People should not standby passively and allow children to be put on these things. Pills are not a substitute for real communication and problem solving skills.

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Posted by Rudolph
a resident of Old Mountain View
on Sep 3, 2010 at 7:45 am

Cause of suicide: life sucks.

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Posted by Shakespeare
a resident of another community
on Sep 4, 2010 at 12:12 am

Seconded only cowardly person stays on the planet it is not logical to do so.

Even Shakespeare new the deal.

To be or not to be– that is the question:
Whether 'tis nobler in the mind to suffer
The slings and arrows of outrageous fortune,
Or to take arms against a sea of troubles
And, by opposing, end them. To die, to sleep
No more – and by a sleep to say we end
The heartache and the thousand natural shocks
That flesh is heir to – ‘tis a consummation
Devoutly to be wished. To die, to sleep
To sleep, perchance to dream. Ay, there's the rub,
For in that sleep of death what dreams may come,
When we have shuffled off this mortal coil,
Must give us pause. There's the respect
That makes calamity of so long life.
For who would bear the whips and scorns of time,
Th’ oppressor's wrong, the proud man's contumely,
The pangs of disprized love, the law's delay,
The insolence of office, and the spurns
That patient merit of th’ unworthy takes,
When he himself might his quietus make
With a bare bodkin? Who would fardels bear,
To grunt and sweat under a weary life,
But that the dread of something after death,
The undiscovered country from whose bourn
No traveller returns, puzzles the will
And makes us rather bear those ills we have
Than fly to others that we know not of?
Thus conscience does make cowards of us all,
And thus the native hue of resolution
Is sicklied o'er with the pale cast of thought,
And enterprises of great pitch and moment
With this regard their currents turn awry,
And lose the name of action.—Soft you now!
The fair Ophelia! Nymph, in thy orisons
Be all my sins remembered.[1]

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Posted by Mark
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Sep 4, 2010 at 10:36 pm

And yet another time where schools are expected to do the job of parents'.

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Posted by Jonathan Lustig
a resident of Castro City
on Sep 5, 2010 at 6:34 pm

DontDoIt - I concur. I believe that it is imperative that a teenage/adult suicide prevention forum is routinely hosted somewhere locally for the public. Every one of us should become informed and educated about the symptoms and signs of severely depressed children, and adults. Being aware and addressing this disease in its earliest stages allows us the ability to combat and defeat it.

TheRealDeal - I also agree with you. Unfortunately very few people in society today will talk about the 100,000 Americans who die annually from "as directed" use of prescription drugs. People also sweep under the rug another 100,000 Americans who die every year from "abuse" of prescription drugs. Those numbers equate to more than 1 every 5 minutes, of every hour, of every day, of every week, of every month, of every year. 200,000 Americans perish from pharmacuticals within a 365 day period.

There are currently roughly 800,000 attempted suicides every year in the United States. Unfortunately 40,000 of our fellow citizens end up successfully achieving their goal.

I knew a young lady for almost 15 years who appeared to have everything going for her. On the outside she was absolutely adorable. On the inside she had one of the highest intellects and biggest hearts of all of my friends.

While attempting to obtain her masters in Canada, she periodically found time to enjoy life by going kayaking, mountain climbing, white water rafting, camping, and bungee jumping. Her main objective was school but she knew escaping from the day to day chaos of academia was healthy for her.

There were times when she would come home to her family here in Los Altos and I would have the opportunity of running into her.

There were two different occassions where I walked into a room and found her crying. Both times she informed a friend and I that school was becoming extrememly stressful and that she wasnt sure if she was going to accomplish the goals that she had set for herself in the short amount of time that she attempted to complete them. The additional year of schooling would cost her almost 40,000 dollars and she couldnt bear to ask her parents for more financial help. We would tell her to "Continue to work hard and everything will fall into place, if anyone can do it, you can." We knew life was difficult for her but we also knew she was envied for her strength and diligence and could achieve anything that she set her mind to.

Unbeknownst to me, and many others, she had been diagnosed with ADHD and had been taken ritalin to mitigate her hyperactivity and the lack of focus that she was encountering. One of the many side-affects of amphetamine dirivative drugs like ritalin or adderal or cylert is depression. For the depression they had prescribed her prozac. After attempting to take the Prozac for 6 months she thought she could do without it so she quit taking it.

About 2 months later she was back in the area to see her family and spend time with friends. One evening she was at my house with a few of those friends. Conversating, laughing, watching random movies and playing the xbox all added up to a great night. She didnt cry at all and she even spoke about random things that she wanted us all to do together sometime in the near future.

Once the clock struck 12 she stated that it was getting late and that she was going to head home. Everyone hugged and said goodbye to her expecting to see her again before she left for Canada a few days later.

Her parents house was appoximately 20 minutes from where I was living at the time. One of my bestfriends recieved a phonecall at 6am from her father who found her alittle before 1am, hanging from a rope in her favorite childhood tree.

She went from laughing with everyone one moment, to commiting suicide the next. This stunning young woman, who was admired by all of us, had taken her own life. I couldnt understand it, until I heard about the ADHD, clinical depression, and prescription drugs that she had hidden from almost all of us.

You see, I was diagnosed with ADHD when I was 5 and chronic migraines and depression around 8. The cocktail of drugs I was subjected to substantially compromised my youth years. I wasnt eating or sleeping, I would walk around with my mind "in the fog" and having an "icky feeling" consuming my entire body. I had nausea and suicidal thoughts often, and I broke 9 bones in about a decade. I contribute most, if not all of my problems, to the amphetaimines.

I still feel blame. I should have asked more questions. I shouldnt have taken her courage for granted. The world lost an amazing woman and all I can do now is attempt to do great things on her, and others like her, behalfs. But it will never be the same.

She reminded me of someone who was destined to change the world for the better, and now she is gone forever.

Even with all my experiences growing up, I wasnt able to reconize that my friend was encountering similar issues that would lead to her demise.

We must save as many people as we can. Knowledge is power. If I would have attended one of these proposed workshops, perhaps I would have pryed more during her crying episodes and become more aware of her struggles and could have prevented this travesty.

Life is priceless. Rescuing just one person would outweigh any financial obligation that would be required for establishing a seminar for locals. Such a program potentially could save many.

We owe it to our youths, and our community.

Embraces those around you as if tomorrow will not exist.

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Posted by MVborn
a resident of Cuesta Park
on Sep 7, 2010 at 6:51 pm

It definitely would be interesting to find out how many/percentage of those who died the past two years were previously on depression or psychiatric-related drugs. Can we do this?

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