On Sunday, June 10, parents and students of Lynnwood High School were notified that a student at the school, a junior, had died by suicide Saturday evening. The student was described as a scholar athlete and member of the band community at Lynnwood High School.
The Edmonds School District and Lynnwood High School had prepared to provide crisis counseling on campus Monday and Tuesday as students returned to school to guide them through the grief process.
As the students and staff had begun an already difficult and emotional day on Monday, they learned of the death of a second student. This student, a senior, was described as a student leader, student athlete and was also a member of the band community. The cause of death was not disclosed and remains unknown. (Update Wednesday: According to the Snohomish County Medical Examiner, though the official cause is still pending further lab tests, the second student’s death appears to be from natural causes.)
Both students were teammates on the Lynnwood Royals football team.
Lynnwood High School Principal Michael Piper said in a statement to families on Monday, “We know that many students and staff will continue to need support tomorrow and in the coming days. We will have additional counselors on site tomorrow to offer support for students.”
According to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, suicide now ranks as the second leading cause of death among those aged 15-34 in Washington State.
In a recent study released by the CDC (Center for Disease Control) that studied suicide rates in the United States from 1999-2016, nationwide rates have risen nearly 30 percent, while rates in Washington state increased by 18.8 percent.
There are things the community and those affected can all do to help.
Most importantly, if you or someone you know is in crisis, please talk to someone that can help immediately.
- Call the 24-hour National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (1-800-273-8255) to be connected to a trained counselor at a suicide crisis center nearest you.
- Or the Crisis Text Line by texting TALK to 741741
- Call your doctor’s office.
- Call 911 for emergency services.
- Go to the nearest hospital emergency room.
If you need help, ask a family member or close friend to help you make those calls or visits.
Lynnwood High School also referenced these resources in dealing with grief associated with the loss of the two students:
- Care Crisis Line: 800-584-3578
- Swedish Hospital Grief Support: 425-640-4404
Depression is the most common condition associated with suicide, and it is often undiagnosed or untreated. Conditions like depression, anxiety and substance problems, especially when unaddressed, increase risk for suicide. If you believe you or those close to you are at risk because of depression, anxiety and/or substance problems, seek the advice of your doctor.
Education and awareness of the warning signs of suicide can made a difference. A good source for that information and many other related resources can be found on the Association for Suicide Prevention website: https://afsp.org/about-suicide/risk-factors-and-warning-signs/.
As Principal Piper said in closing his statement Monday, “We will get through this together.”
–By Scott Williams