Adams High School mourns death of student

By: Mary Beth Almond | Rochester Post | Published January 24, 2019

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ROCHESTER HILLS — Rochester Community Schools officials offered emotional support and grief counseling after news of a high school student’s suicide death left many in the community mourning.

The school district emailed a letter to the school community Jan. 23 about the death of the Adams High School sophomore — and urged families to speak with their children about their feelings.

“As our school community processes information about this unthinkable loss, great care and consideration is being focused on attending to the grief felt by our students and staff. We are a tight-knit community at Rochester Community Schools, and it is important that our students and staff know that we are here to help them,” RCS Superintendent Robert Shaner stated in the letter.

Despite school being canceled due to inclement weather conditions on Jan. 24, a crisis response team, including counselors and support staff, was made available at Adams High School to provide emotional support and grief counseling to students, staff and members of the community. The counseling was offered on a drop-in basis, and Shaner encouraged the use of the services.

In his email, Shaner also emphasized the importance for families to encourage open dialogue with their children.

Common Ground Resource and Crisis Helpline and Suicide Prevention & Volunteer Recruitment Coordinator Melissa Bowman said suicide among young people continues to be a problem in Michigan and across the United States. Nationally, suicide is the second-leading cause of death for people between 15 and 24 years old, after accidental injuries, according to the Centers for Disease Control.

“We know that it happens and we know it’s been on the rise,” Bowman said.

“The best thing to do is talk about it … so that people who have had those thoughts can get help,” Bowman explained. “The fear and stress about talking about it is one of the huge barriers to people getting help, so it’s very important to talk about it.”

Common Ground offers support to those dealing with the loss of a loved one via a free “Survivors of Suicide Loss Support Group,” held the first and third Monday of each month from 7-9 p.m. at the Resource and Crisis Center, 1200 N. Telegraph Road, Building 32E, in Pontiac. For more information about the group, call (248) 451-2614 or email mbowman@cghelps.org.

“It’s a great place for friends and family members to connect with other people who have had a loss, as well as have an open, free environment to actually talk about their feelings,” Bowman said.

For more information about suicide prevention, call or text Common Ground’s 24-hour, 365-days a week, anonymous and confidential crisis hotline at (800) 231-1127, or visit the 24-hour crisis online chat site at www.commongroundhelps.org. Additional information about youth suicide prevention, can be found at www.oakgov.com/suicideprevention.