Video: Santa Clara County community asking for federal help to stop teen suicides


PALO ALTO (KRON) — A Santa Clara County community is aiming to stop teen suicides and is asking for federal help to save lives.

Palo Alto has been plagued by teen suicides, prompting the Santa Clara Health Department to call it an “urgent health problem.”

So, the community is asking for help.

The Center’s for Disease Control arrived Tuesday to do an investigation. Members from the CDC’s Suicide Prevention Team are in the county for two weeks.

They will be talking with parents, teachers, the health department, and the city to figure out why kids from the affluent Peninsula community keep taking their own lives. At Gunn High School, they have dealt with two clusters of teen suicides.

In Palo Alto, the first happened in 2009-2011, when seven kids killed themselves. Then again, in a six-month span from fall 2014 to spring 2015, there were four more youth suicides.

The CDC will evaluate the current suicide prevention plans, watch media coverage of the deaths, and try to identify the problems. The county is counting on the CDC’s expertise.

The CDC did a similar investigation like this in Fairfax County, Virgina and found that peer pressure, bullying, high expectations, and denial of mental health issues were considered “risk factors” in teen suicides.

It will take a few weeks for the CDC to complete its report.

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