Recent suicides bring trauma, coping with tragedy to forefront

AMHERST, MA (WGGB/WSHM) — People in Newtown, CT are grieving after a father who lost his daughter in the Sandy Hook shooting was found dead from an apparent suicide this morning.

This news comes just after two Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School students committed suicide within one week of each other.

Hannah Karcinell was a senior at the time of the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas and graduated with Sydney Aiello, who took her own life last Sunday.

Karcinell said that she can still remember the horrifying sounds and chaos from that tragic day. That’s why it’s important you get the help you need and talk to people.

“It’s always there. Anytime someone slams a door or there’s a firearm that goes off, it’s the first thing that I think of,” Karcinell explained.

Karcinell is a freshman at UMass Amherst, but just over a year ago, she was hiding from a gunman who killed 17 students and staff members at her high school: Marjory Stoneman Douglas.

“It still, I feel like, hasn’t set in for a lot of people. It still feels so fresh,” Karcinell noted.

Karcinell told Western Mass News that over the past year, she and her classmates have relied on one another through difficult times.

“Definitely a lot of calls and Facetimes and hangouts, where we just talk about normal things and the shooting. I think it helps to talk about it. I think it gets easier to talk about a time goes on, even though the feelings are still there,” Karcinell explained.

Last Sunday, Sydney Aiello – a Marjory Stoneman Douglas graduate – took her own life and this past Saturday, police said a current student also passed away from an apparent suicide.

Andy Beresky is the director of recovery supports at the Center for Human Development. He said that many people can suffer from survivors guilt following a traumatic event.

“I can definitely see why someone would feel guilty, wondering why a lot of other people died and they happened survived. I can see how that leads to feelings of guilt and of course, the feelings of what could I have done differently,” Beresky explained.

Beresky added one of the most important things you can do is talk about it.

“Some people might need more space initially. Sometimes, when something like this happens, it’s difficult to trust other people, it’s difficult to feel safe, it’s difficult to handle the emotions around other people. Sometimes, people will need a little more space, so it’s good to give people what they feel they’re needing, but let them know that you’re going to be there for them,” Beresky said.

Both Karcinell and Beresky couldn’t stress enough the importance of reaching out for help and talking to people, especially if you’re experiencing suicidal thoughts.

Anyone looking for help can contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255. It’s available 24 hours a day.

To talk to one of CHD’s clinicians, call 1-844-CHD-HELP and talk to a live operator 24/7. 


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