Two Parkland Suicides Reveal Lingering Pain of Gun Violence

Suicide is the second leading cause of death among school age youth, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

The news that two Parkland, Fla. teenagers have died by apparent suicide in the past week has shocked not only the Parkland community, but many throughout the country.  Both teens, who apparently took their own lives, were survivors of the Feb. 14, 2018 mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglass High School that left 17 dead and 17 injured.

According to The Washington Post, Sydney Aiello took her own life on March 17. Aiello, 19, was a senior at the school during the massacre. She was close with Meadow Pollack, who was killed. Aiello struggled with post-traumatic stress disorder, her mother has been quoted as saying.

Then news of a second death surfaced when Broward County Schools Superintendent Robert Muncie announced Sunday on Twitter that a Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School student apparently killed himself. The student has not been identified and the police have not confirmed that he took his own life.


There Is Help

Montgomery County launched a program in 2017 to provide information and resources on teen suicide prevention. The BeTheOne program includes a website,, designed by local high school student Ray Crist.

Each year the program sponsors a Public Service Announcement video contest to prevent teen suicide. The winning PSAs will air at Regal and AMC theaters in Montgomery County through April. All of the submitted PSAs will air on social media platforms and local cable channels.

Montgomery Community Media hosted a program last year about mental wellness. Host Ed Reed discussed teen mental wellness with two panels of experts and local students. The program may be watched, here.

Ed Reed, Ananya Tadikonda, Andrew Sojka offer advice to anyone struggling in this short video.

If you or someone you know might be at risk of suicide, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 or call the Montgomery County Crisis Center at 240-777-4000.

Teen suicide is the topic for an upcoming Montgomery Talks with Doug Tallman podcast. Rachel Larkin, Director of the Montgomery County Hotline for Suicide Prevention, is scheduled to be the featured guest on the April 8th podcast.


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