Mother feels up­set and sus­pi­cious af­ter son’s friend’s sui­cide

The China Post - - TV & COMICS -

DEAR AN­NIE: Last week, our son came home from high school and told us that a boy at his school had killed him­self. The boy had been a friend of his since the fifth grade.

The school had a mo­ment of si­lence over the public ad­dress sys­tem, but never men­tioned the boy’s name. Most of the de­tails about the sui­cide are nonex­is­tent, although there are a few things men­tioned on a web­site ask­ing for help pay­ing for fu­neral costs. Stu­dents who didn’t know the sui­cide vic­tim are guess­ing it was caused by bul­ly­ing. Our son says that’s not true. Some stu­dents are even say­ing the fund re­quests are a scam.

We haven’t heard any­thing about whether the school is of­fer­ing grief coun­sel­ing. We’ve talked to our son about the tragedy and are try­ing our best to help him. Be­cause the stu­dents have no in­for­ma­tion, they are mak­ing wild guesses and plac­ing un­in­formed posts on so­cial me­dia. My ques­tion is why is this tragedy so se­cret? Should the school do more?

— Sad Mom

Dear Sad: Some­times, the school is ill-equipped to deal with such tragedies and does noth­ing, which tends to cre­ate a whirl­wind of mis­in­for­ma­tion. Also, the ad­min­is­tra­tion may fear that men­tion­ing the de­tails would cre­ate copy­cat sui­cides. But the de­tails do not need air­ing. The ac­knowl­edge­ment of mourn­ing, how­ever, is im­por­tant.

The Amer­i­can Foun­da­tion for Sui­cide Pre­ven­tion (afsp.org) of­fers a Tool­kit for Schools, and you should men­tion this to the ad­min­is­tra­tion. The foun­da­tion is also an ex­cel­lent re­source for any­one deal­ing with sui­cide, and you will find in­for­ma­tion there that will help you talk to your son about his friend.

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