PARKLAND, Florida – The mother of a recent Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School graduate said her daughter committed suicide last weekend.
Sydney Aiello, 19, was close friends with Meadow Pollack, one of the 17 students killed when a gunman opened fire inside the Parkland, Florida school last year, WFOR in Miami reported.
Aiello’s mother told WFOR that her daughter suffered with “survivor’s guilt” and had recently been diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder.
Her mother said Aiello struggled to attend college classes since she was scared to be in a classroom. She said her daughter was sad, but never asked for help before killing herself.
Ryan Petty lost his daughter, Alaina, in the shooting. He’s focused a lot of effort on suicide prevention in the wake of the tragedy – worried that tramatized teens might take their own lives.
“It breaks my heart that we’ve lost yet another student from Stoneman Douglas,” Petty told WFOR. “My advice to parents is to ask questions. Don’t wait.”
“Some of the questions that need to be asked are: Do you wish you were dead and not wake up? Second question: Have you had thoughts of killing yourself?” Petty said.
Cindy Arenberg Seltzer, President and CEO of the Children’s Services Council of Broward County, told WFOR the Parkland tragedy proved that people need to work to get over the stigma associated with mental health problems and a troubling inability to ask for help when you’re struggling.
Seltzer said parents should look for suicide warning signs like kids who hurt themselves or stop taking part in activities they once enjoyed.
“Parents have to be a little more aggressive when they see those signs and not just wait for the child to ask for help and maybe take them to those resources,” she said.
A GoFundMe account has been set up to help Aiello’s family.
If you or someone you know is struggling with thoughts of suicide, you can call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255.