This is a blog for the Mental Health Policy Class at the George Warren Brown School of Social Work.

January 17, 2008

Out from the shadow of teen suicide

It was fall 2005. Three Needham students had already committed suicide, and there would soon be a fourth. And as Haas, just 16, flirted with suicidal thoughts of his own, his parents, Chris and Ronnie Haas, were busy planning Michael's college education, not seeing signs of his deepening depression. It is the classic parent-child disconnect, mental health specialists said yesterday at a State House forum about teenage depression. Specialists say that depression often goes unnoticed by parents, which can lead to more serious problems, like the suicides in Needham or more recently Nantucket, where three teenagers - ages 15, 16, and 17 - have killed themselves in the last 11 months. The problem with teenage depression, specialists said yesterday, is that many people do not want to or do not know how to talk about it and often retreat into silence for fear of what others might think or say.

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