Parkland, Newtown suicides reveal ‘systemic’ lack of mental health supports

Health and school safety experts say the apparent suicides of two student survivors and a shooting victim’s parent are a glaring sign things must change.

Many months, or even years, after two communities were rattled by school shootings, a string of suicides among those tied to the tragedies have resurfaced the devastation.

Sydney Aiello, who graduated from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in 2018, died by suicide last week. Aiello, 19, survived the Parkland, Florida, shooting that killed 14 students and three staff members, and she reportedly struggled with survivor’s guilt and was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder.

About a week later, a second survivor and current Stoneman Douglas student, 16-year-old Calvin Desir, took his own life. And on Monday, Jeremy Richman, whose daughter was one of 20 children and six adults killed in the 2012 Sandy Hook Elementary shooting in Newtown, Connecticut, died in an apparent suicide.

“It’s tragedy after tragedy and just compounds that sense of devastation,” said Amy Klinger, co-founder and director of programs for the Educator’s School Safety Network. “It really speaks to the need for supports and interventions and recovery, which is oftentimes not addressed.”


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