Two Suicides at Arapahoe High School

Sarah Sanchez, Reporter

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Only three days apart, two Arapahoe High School students were lost to suicide. Both students were seniors, a boy and girl. In the early hours of Saturday, September 29, 2018, the boy took his life and on the following Tuesday, October 2, the girl took hers. The aftermath of these students deaths has been hard for many; the other students, school faculty, families and friends. Following events on October 2nd, Arapahoe High School canceled classes for October 3 to give everyone personal time to grieve and come to terms with the tragedies. It has not been confirmed how the students died by either the police or the school and district officials. Principal Natalie Pramenko sent out letters explaining events and offering ways to find help for students and their families. Student’s mental health care is mandated, so additional counselors and mental health professionals are staying at the school to help students through this tragedy.

The two students from Arapahoe High School are not the first young victims of suicide this year; a 9-year-old who went to Joe Shoemaker Elementary committed suicide in late August. According to the boy’s mother, her son came out as being gay and was bullied for it.

A study from the Colorado Health Institute states the leading cause of death between the ages of 10-24 years old is suicide. Suicide has become much more common; Colorado suicide rates have increased by 34.1% according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Denver 7 News recently addressed that part of the problem is that suicide is only talked about when tragedy strikes, when there should be a conversation frequently. Students should be taught the signs of a suicidal persons.

If you see any of these warning signs or are feeling this way yourself, tell someone: talking about wanting to die, looking for a way to die, feeling hopeless, feeling trapped, feeling that you are a burden to others, increasing use of alcohol or drugs, acting anxious or agitated, sleeping to little or too much, withdrawing or feeling isolated, showing rage, and displaying extreme mood swings.

There is still hope. You can talk to someone you trust, like a family member, friend, or teacher. Other options are suicide hotlines, including websites which also include texting. Here are just a few: Second Wind Fund, Colorado Crisis Services, National Suicide Prevention Lifeline,  and Your Life Your Voice. Another source of encouragement is Offline October. Offline October’s goal is to get people talking face to face, instead of posting on your social media accounts.

There are so many options; please reach out.

The National Suicide Hotline is operational 24 hours at 1-800-273-8255.

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