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Every 90 minutes, a teenager somewhere in America
kills himself. “It's more than just common, it's probably
at epidemic proportions,” said Dr. Lawrence Levine,
chairman of the department of emergency medicine at
Bristol Hospital.
The rise in the rate of teen suicide - 250 percent in the past
30 years - has caused it to become the nation’s second 
leading killer of young people, after accidents.
– By Brian LaRue

Focus on depression

Girls describe loneliness, depression

Your best friend is depressed and contemplating suicide.

This statement might not be true, but maybe it is. And maybe you have no idea.

Though it’s a problem that effects teens everywhere, depression often goes unnoticed, even by family and close friends.

That’s what it was like for Mary, a sophomore of Bristol Eastern High School , and Katy, a freshman at Windsor School . Both girls spoke on the condition that their identities be protected. - By Katie Jordan

Depressed teens can get help

Nobody is happy all the time.

But if your feelings of sadness seem to be permanent, you may be clinically depressed.

John Mingel, program manager and counselor for the Wheeler Clinic’s help line, said the 24-hour telephone outreach handles about 30,000 calls a year, many of them from young people from the Bristol area.

“A good percentage would be teenagers,” Mingel said. Teenagers everywhere suffer from depression. - By Katie Jordan


By Katie Jordan/

Experts say there are many warning signs to watch for.

Among them are:

(1) prolonged depression or withdrawal;

(2) chronic anger, aggression or frustration;

3) threats or mentions of suicidal thoughts;

4) a traumatic loss of someone close;

5) disappointment or humiliation, especially in public;

6) negative changes in behavior;

7) uncharacteristic personality traits or attitude changes;

8) heavy alcohol or drug use;

9) preoccupation or obsession with death; or

10) giving possessions away and making final arrangements.

If you know someone who has been undergoing many of these symptoms for a short time or some of them for a prolonged period, there are doctors, clinics and hotlines available to obtain information to help you confront him or her.

In order to keep the situation from escalating, professionals agree that action should be taken early on.

By Katie Jordan/

'A big emptiness'

Neil Krupski, who killed himself at the age of 17.

A sad ending

John Krupski, Maria Torza and Jen Peidl never thought the outgoing, funny kid they all loved would kill himself. – By Amanda Lehmert and Danielle Ouimet


Friend's death offers second look at life

On the morning of Feb. 2, 1996, a strange warm feeling filled the air. Some spots of the parking lot where I stood had small patches of dark, sandy snow left over from a storm the week before.

I paced back and forth in front of the large station wagon my sister sat in. She had the windows rolled down - something rarely seen in  February. We were both quiet. - By Bryna Pena

Grieving parents learn to cope with dead kids

Every parent thinks that they know their child better than anyone else. But what happens when they don't know enough to save his life?

Maria Torza and John Krupski's teenage son, Neil, was an outgoing, funny kid with a lot of friends, and seemingly normal teenage problems. Then his mother found him soaking wet and limp in her car, overdosed on pills.

Four days later, with their son in a coma, his parents made the heartbreaking decision to take Neil off life support.

Years earlier, another mother who asked to remain anonymous thought her son Jason (not his real name) seemed an average kid who loved his dog and his car. He just happened to have numerous health problems.

One morning she found him under a blanket. ``He had shot himself in the head,'' she said, ``You have no idea. You  can't even imagine what he looked like.'' - By Amanda Lehmert, Danielle Ouimet and Brian LaRue


Teen's suicide left 'a lot of pain behind'

Toby, a loving little beagle, is still howling for his owner to return home. But 18-year-old Scott Hanelt, who hung himself in a park just before Labor Day, is never coming back.
"Toby's really lost," said Scott's mother, Cathy Hanelt.

When Scott chose to kill himself Aug. 27, he deserted much more than just a confused dog. His family, and scores of friends, are also grieving. "If Scott realized  how much pain he left behind, he wouldn't have done it," his mother said.    – By Hila Yosafi, Amanda Lehmert and Jessica Norton


Teenager survives suicide attempt

Susan is a lighthearted, social, 15-year-old freshmen at Bristol Central High School. But two years ago, in a bout of depression, she tried to kill herself.

Here is her story. Only her name has been changed to protect her privacy.

On the outside, Susan seemed like an average, happy seventh grader. But her life was not so easy. By Amanda Lehmert


By Aimee Lehmert/

Also check out the award-winning Teen Suicide Project from December 1996, including editorials and letters written in response to it.

Click here to see Dec. 30, 1996 issue

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