This two-part special report, the result of a five-month project by Assistant Editor Jessica Portner, focuses on the causes of youth suicide and the possible solutions. It involved more than 100 in-depth interviews with the families of victims, survivors of suicide attempts, educators, mental-health-policy experts, psychiatrists, epidemiologists, government researchers, and law-enforcement officials. Senior Editor Sandra Graziano edited the report. Education Week’s librarian, Kathryn Dorko, assisted in finding the families profiled in Part 1. Editorial Assistant Meghan Mullan gathered photographs and compiled information about the suicide victims pictured in the series.
Part I: Suicide has become one of the leading causes of death for young people in this country. Part I of the report looks at why the youth suicide rate has ballooned in the past few decades. It also profiles three teenagers who killed themselves: Jason Flatt, Mekye Malcolm, and Kerby Guerra.
Part II: Schools’ approaches to suicide prevention vary greatly. But even with some districts paying dearly in court, too few educators are casting a serious eye on students’ mental health. Part 2 will examine:
- One system’s front-line approach to prevention.
- A kinder, gentler school in Los Angeles.
- Districtwide support in Memphis.
- The inadequate number of school psychologists.
- Mental-health spending.
- The vulnerability of gay students.
A version of this article appeared in the April 12, 2000 edition of Education Week as About This Series