Cathedral High School Tragedy Is Every Parent's Worst Nightmare

suicide preventionAs a parent, I have a lot of "worst" nightmares. The list includes, but is not limited to, kidnapping (and all possible horrifying outcomes), life-threatening diseases, horrible injuries/accidents, jail ... oh, I could go on all day. But what happened to a male student at Cathedral High School in Indianapolis Tuesday is definitely one of my worst worst nightmares.

The boy (his name is not being released) attempted suicide in a wooded area on school grounds, shooting himself in the stomach. He then apparently made his way to a gazebo near the school building and called administration, saying he'd "hurt himself."

I'm sure his parents are in shock, and that's the part that makes my blood run cold ... to think one of my kids could reach the point of being suicidal without me even knowing.

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The boy is reportedly in stable condition; the school's principal responded to his call immediately and alerted emergency workers. The school jumped right in with damage control, too, providing counselors for students, staff, and parents.

Of course, the student who's lying in the hospital right now is clearly the one who needed counseling the most, but I'm not blaming anyone -- not his parents, or the guidance counselor, or his teachers -- for the fact that he obviously didn't get the help he needed. It's likely that the boy also didn't show any outward symptoms of depression at all. In fact, he very well may have gone to great lengths to hide his feelings from the people closest to him.

And that's what makes this story so scary.

My older kid is only 10, but already I see the secretive nature of adolescence taking hold. We all remember going through it as teens. Even if your parents are relatively approachable and your relationship with them is decent, talking about your feelings when you're a kid is hard: You can barely figure out what you're feeling in the first place.

The only seemingly preventable part of this story is that the boy somehow got his hands on a gun. Sounds like some adult must have screwed up somewhere along the way for that to happen, but until we know more details, I can't really say.

All I can say is, thank god this kid survived. And I hope my kids never go through anything like this.

Does teen suicide scare you?

 

Image via Nic Dayton/Flickr

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