Teachers announced the passing of a senior student due to suicide in their second period classes Wednesday, Sept. 2. The student’s name was not released, honoring the family’s request.
For students affected by the loss, walk-in counseling services were provided in the tutorial center.
In an email to parents on Oct. 3, principal David Grissom advised parents on recognizing signs of mental illness in their students, and provided resources for students coping with mental health issues.
“Please know that caring parent connection in the next few weeks is the best way to support our students as they struggle with the aftermath of a suicide,” said Grissom in the email.
Grissom’s email, including mental health resources, has been inserted below.
Dear MVHS Families,
Yesterday was a difficult day for the MVHS and MVLA community. Dr. Meyer’s email provided many resources for our students and we wanted to offer a few more for you as parents. Please know that caring parent connection in the next few weeks is the best way to support our students as they struggle with the aftermath of a suicide.
As a community, we are grieving and we know that support of our youth is a shared responsibility and works best when we are well connected with each other and communicating about the mental health needs and resources for our youth. No one, especially our youth, should be alone with thoughts of suicide or grief.
Many factors and life circumstances must be taken into account when trying to understand why someone would take their own life. Suicide does not have a single “cause.” For most young people, depression, anxiety, sleep problems, severe distress about relationship issues, life transitions, and other aspects of mental health issues are key factors affecting their decision.
Sometimes these disorders or issues are not identified or noticed; other times, a youth with a disorder will show symptoms or signs. Here is information that may be helpful to you in discussing suicide with your youth. This link lists signs and things to watch for.
In addition, here are some tips for families for this weekend from Kara (a non-profit organization which “provides comprehensive grief support, crisis intervention and education to individuals and communities facing the difficult realities of grief and loss”).
Thoughts for Parents and Guardians in Supporting their Students this Weekend
- Expect fluctuations in emotions and behaviors.
- Provide both space and proximity:
- Allow them time to reflect, process, and emote while being close enough so that they do not feel alone (for example: be in the kitchen while they are watching TV)
- Avoid inundating your teens with questions and check-ins; they may not have the words to answer you. Be present and ready to support when needed.
- Allow time for peer support:
- If possible, create a space for students to gather together to be among their friends. Again, non-intrusive proximity is important.
- Be aware that some physical attributes may include low energy, low motivation, challenge in focusing, preoccupation, and fatigue.
- Watch for feelings of helplessness or hopelessness.
- Warning signs for helplessness include lack of volition, self-defeating behaviors, and an unwillingness to tend to self (not eating, not getting out of bed, not changing clothes, etc.)
- Warning signs for hopelessness include loss of faith in external environment, exaggerated aggression, and out of character withdrawal or anxiety
Members of our Wellness team are meeting with students who seek or are referred for support. Please contact any member of our administrative staff if you feel your youth is in need of assistance.
- Huong Vo, Student Services Coordinator (650) 940-7473
- Dave Grissom, Principal (650) 940-4602
- Teri Faught, Assistant Principal (650) 940-4606
- Daniella Quiñones, Assistant Principal (650) 940-4604
- William Blair, Assistant Principal (650) 940-4620
Mental health resources for your youth that you should be aware of include:
- 24-hour Suicide and Crisis Hotline: 855-278-4204
- National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 800-273-8255, (Espanol) 888-628-9454
- Crisis Text Line: Text “hello” to 741741
- Uplift Mobile Crisis Team: 877-412–7474 (English and Espanol)
Sincerely, David Grissom, MVHS Principal