Teens, stress, and suicide: A day in the life

Meghan, a teen panelist at the Wisdom 2.0 Youth Conference, is concerned about teen health, suicide, and drug abuse—all being caused by the pressure and stress they experience.

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On July 7, 2011, Clayton Carlson, a 23-year-old Palo Alto, CA resident who graduated from Palo Alto High School (aka “Paly”) in 2006, committed suicide on a local train track in Palo Alto, California.

There have been 7 teen-specific suicides since May of 2009. So I sat down with Paly High School Senior Meghan Byrd to ask her about teen life, the pressures of being a teen today and the epidemic of recent teen suicides in the local area.

Meghan, a future teen panelist at the upcoming Wisdom 2.0 Youth Conference, is concerned about teen health and tragic stories like Clayton Carlson’s. She recalls checking her Facebook newsfeed after a student committed suicide at Paly in January of this year, and seeing dozens of statuses of friends on Facebook that show the letters, “R.I.P.” This has become so commonplace, she says, that it isn’t even a surprise anymore.

Although self-destructive behavior has been a problem for a few years now, the Palo Alto Unified School District (PAUSD) has failed to appropriately address the issue. Where some kids do end up committing suicide, Meghan tells me, others might engage in less serious destructive behaviors including cutting, drug use to stay up…