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Parkland mourns two students, one year after Stoneman Douglas. Now the parents are asked to be vigilant

Church leaders encourage parents everywhere to be vigilant and proactive in talking to their children about trauma.

Sydney Aiello, a graduate of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in 2018, died of suicide last week. She survived the attack on Valentine's Day 2018, where 17 people were killed at the Florida School – including 14 students and three employees.
Aiello, a Florida Atlantic University student, was a survivor and was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder, her mother told CNN affiliate WFOR.
On Saturday, Parkland was struck by another tragedy when a second student died, calling the police "apparent suicide."

The student, who was not publicly identified, was a student at Stoneman Douglas High. It is not clear under what circumstances the student died or whether the apparent suicide is related to last year's massacre.

Parents: "We have to take this seriously"

"Unfortunately, we've learned that the survivors of a traumatic event like a shootout carry a lot of guilt, fears, pressure and even depression," said Ryan Petty, whose daughter Alaina Petty was killed in filming last year.

Study: More school-age children in the US are dying on guns than US police or global military casualties
Petty, who has another child who survived the attack, founded the WalkUp Foundation after the shoot, focusing on preventing suicide.

"As a parent, we just have to assume that your child is not immune to it, your child is at risk, and you need to take that seriously," he said.

Petty said the school district, community leaders, law enforcement agencies and concerned parents met on Sunday to discuss how to deal with trauma survivors.

"Even if everything seems fine, you have to take it seriously," he said. "You have to ask them the questions, have you thought about killing yourself, have you thought about how you could do that?"

How to get help for someone who is suicidal

Petty said the students were offered resources after filming, including counseling opportunities. But he said there are sometimes stigmas when you get help or that the students just pretend they're alright.

"Unfortunately, some students do not take advantage of these opportunities, and some parents do not understand the risks of anxiety and depression in a post-traumatic environment like a shooting range at school," said Petty.

"So our message is that we parents need to take this seriously, we have to take this into our own hands, regardless of your proximity to the building and whether you've seen the terrible events of the day that cost 17 lives, 17 hurt others, you You are part of a school community and this community suffers. "

The power of peer-to-peer communication

Cindy Arenberg Seltzer, President of the Children's Services Council of Broward County, also attended Sunday.

One year after parkland, parents and teachers are still mourning. These are her stories

"I've heard that parents and children say nobody cares, and they want us to continue our lives, and I want them to know that's not true," she said.

"I have just left a room of 60 people who came up on a Sunday afternoon shortly afterwards to show how much they care about."

She said peer-to-peer communication could be a powerful tool as teens could not turn to their parents.

"We want to harness the power of the youth to talk to each other," she said. This can include the use of Instagram, Snapchat, or any other method that "brings tremendous benefits."

MSD students use their experience to help others

In one example of such a network, MSD students have evolved beyond their own community to help other people experiencing trauma.

Parkland students console families in Nwe Zealand
Survivors began a letter campaign last week to heal families and communities affected by March 15 killings in two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand.

Parkland students were connected to the Christchurch community when they visited New Zealand for a learning and healing trip last July.

"We received letters after our tragedy, which was something that really surprised us," said Kai Koerber, Stoneman Douglas Senior, who was traveling last year.

"It's something that has really warmed the hearts of people in my church, and I think it will also warm the hearts of people in Christchurch."

If you or someone you know has a suicide risk, How to get help: In the US, call National suicide prevention line at 1-800-273-8255. The International Association for Suicide Prevention and Friendships worldwide can also provide contact information for crisis centers around the world.

Dakin Andone and Kevin Conlon of CNN contributed to this report.



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