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Groups Offer Help as Community Copes With Suicide

17 Feb Depression, Mental Health News/Blog | Comments Off on Groups Offer Help as Community Copes With Suicide


By Jen Anesi and Brendan McGaughey

While Rochester High School students, parents and staff are still reeling from the suicide death of a student early Friday, some may also be searching for more information or just someone to talk to.

“It is a horrific tragedy for the family and for the school community, but it can be used to open up awareness about what teens are feeling,” said Michelle Lynch of Abaris Behavior Health in Rochester Hills. “My hope is that by raising awareness, we will avoid tragedies like this in the future.”

“Being around a lot of people helps a lot,” said Melani Mihailovski of Shelby Township, whose friend was killed in a dirt bike accident when she was in school. Mihailovski said they made wristbands with his lucky number on them to pay their respects.

“You have to really be careful what you say – not to be a bully, not to be hurtful to other human beings – because there’s a terrible price to be paid,” said Leslie Friedman, owner of Jackie Oh! in downtown Rochester.

The death Friday is the second teenage suicide in four months in Rochester Hills; 19-year-old Corey Jackson committed suicide near his Oakland University dorm in late October.

In the Rochester area, several local organizations are dedicated to helping individuals in crisis, educating the public about depression and suicide and removing the stigma attached to depression. Several national organizations also strive to do the same, and there are numerous suicide and crisis hotlines available.

Common Ground, a crisis resource center devoted to helping youth, adults and families in crisis in southeast Michigan, operates a 24-hour crisis and resource hotline.

“Anybody who calls is going to get to speak to a person that they can talk to about what they’re going through with their feelings,” said Donna Schulert, Common Ground crisis screening unit manager. “Somebody that can help them with their emotions, help them with their thoughts at that moment and sort of assess that person to see if they are also having suicidal thoughts or feelings.”

Schulert said telephone crisis workers are available until about 11 p.m. every day, and then “a professional staff of screening people” takes over until morning.  “We’ve all been trained in crisis and crisis intervention,” she said.

Following is a compilation of local and national suicide-related resources and hotlines:

Suicide crisis lines

Suicide prevention, education and treatment

Rochester High School’s Critical Incidence Team, which includes teachers, counselors and administrators, spent Friday at the school helping students. Counselors will be available again Monday to talk to students.

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