PALO ALTO (KCBS) — Palo Alto school officials confirmed on Monday that a male Gunn High School senior died by suicide near his home Saturday morning. He was the school’s third student or recent graduate who has taken his own life in four months.

The Palo Alto Unified School district and Santa Clara County Department of Mental Health have said they are working hard to prevent these types of deaths.

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It’s a not a crisis that is new to the high school where in 2009 four students committed suicide.


Suicide Prevention Coordinator Evelyn Tirumala, with the Santa Clara Department of Mental Health, told KCBS that prevention efforts are in place.

“This last year, they educated more than 2,500 students on suicide prevention—these are in-class sessions,” she said.

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There is no data to show how many lives were saved due to these efforts and now crisis teams are helping staff and students cope with this latest loss.

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For context, Santa Clara County suicide rate is the lower than state and national average. The majority of suicides are committed by white, middle-aged males.

“However, it’s still impacting us. We have way more suicides than we have homicides and it’s still the third leading cause of death among youth,” Tirumala said.

Teens in affluent and competitive environments do have stresses but Tirumala said that “those who are in crisis can be assured that they can get the help that they need to.”

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A Santa Clara County ‘Suicide Prevention & Crisis’ hotline is available 24-hours a day at 1-855-278-4204.