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The 10 Warning Signs of Teen Suicide

Monday, March 16, 2015

Loren Gissible, LCSW

In the early morning hours of Monday, March 9th 2015, a Palo Alto High School Sophomore ended his life by stepping into the path of an oncoming train. He was 15 years old and he was the eighth Caltrain death in a year that has barely started. For comparison, there were seven teen suicides in the Palo Alto area all of last year.

Palo Alto is one of the wealthiest and best ¬≠educated communities in California, but that has not stopped the recent spate of teen suicides. Palo Alto Unified School District Superintendent, Glenn McGee, thinks he knows why. “Depression and mental health problems are so easy for kids to mask. Sometimes with high-¬≠achieving families we are brought up to suffer in silence.”

The Palo Alto Caltrain suicides have shed light on the fact that teen suicide is a growing concern. According to the U.S. Center for Disease control and Prevention, it’s the leading cause of death for young people ages 15 to 24 (surpassed only by homicide and accidents). And it can be caused by psychological, environmental, or social factors.

Only by knowing how to recognize the warning signs can we truly take steps towards preventing teen suicide. According to www.suicideispreventable.org and the American Psychological Association (APA), some warning signs of suicide are:

1) Withdrawal/Isolation

Teens may withdraw from friends and family, stop talking to and doing things with others or stop engaging in activities they once enjoyed.

2) Changes in sleep

Sleep patterns may shift. This may include either sleeping more or struggling to sleep at all.

3) Reckless Behavior

Teens contemplating suicide may act in ways that could be dangerous or detrimental to their health, disregarding consequences and repercussions.

4) Personality Changes or Mood Changes

Personality changes may occur. Teens that were once outgoing and boisterous may become quiet and irritable. Teens that were once relaxed may present as anxious and stressed. Happiness changes to anger or sadness. Conversely, teens that are normally a little anxious become relaxed. Teens experiencing grief about a situation are suddenly happy.

5) Neglect of personal appearance

There is an unusual neglect of personal appearance, personal hygiene, or they stop caring about even basic grooming.

6) Physical Pain

This may include frequent complaints about physical symptoms, often related to emotions, such as headaches, stomach aches, fatigue, etc. 

7) Loss of interest

They lose interest in pleasurable activities they once enjoyed.

8) Giving away belongings

They give away favorite possessions or throw away belongings that were once important.

9) Substance Abuse
They are drinking alcohol or using other drugs.

10) Hopelessness
A disbelief that things will change or that they are unable to overcome whatever stress they are experiencing. 

If you recognize any of these signs, especially in a teen, please do not ignore them. Contact a mental health professional as soon as possible and we can help with pointing you in the right direction to get help.

Sale of Daughters of Charity Health System

Sunday, February 01, 2015


Reymundo Espinoza, CEO

California Attorney General Kamala Harris has until February 20th to decide whether the 
Daughters of Charity Health System should be sold to Prime Healthcare Services. State law 
requires the approval by the attorney general any time a nonprofit hospital is sold to a for-profit 
company. In October, the Daughters board recommended Prime, a for-profit health service 
provider, as its top candidate to buy the non-profit hospital chain.

The charity care and community benefit programs maintained by the Daughters of Charity 
Health System have filled a critical gap in health services in our community.  This care has 
improved health outcomes and access to care for those living in poverty and without access to 
health insurance.  This care has been provided through the hospitals the chain operates, including 
O'Connor Hospital in San Jose and Saint Louise Regional Hospital in Gilroy.  

Through our membership in the Community Health Partnership (CHP) – a consortium of 10 non-
profit community health centers in Santa Clara and San Mateo counties – we are working hard to 
ensure that any proposed change to the County’s current health system doesn’t negatively impact 
those we serve. 

Specifically, we are recommending services to Medi-Cal recipients extend well beyond the 
currently proposed 10-year timeframe and that access to care, especially emergency room care, is 
equal to access given to private pay patients.  We are also asking for an appointed body to be 
formed to oversee access to care by the poor, uninsured, and Medi-Cal populations and that 
Prime by held responsible for maintaining critical access.

With nearly one in three Californians receiving health care services financed by the state, it’s 
imperative that the sale guarantees the same levels of emergency and non-emergency care to our 
community’s most vulnerable residents.  Our health care safety must remain strong and we must 
continue to invest in poor and low-income individuals and families who cannot participate in 
mainstream systems of care.

DECLARACIÓN DE LA MISIÓN

El objetivo de Gardner es mejorar el estado de salud de las comunidades que servimos, en especial, de sus miembros marginales, pobres y más vulnerables. Nuestra misión es brindar atención médica integral de alta calidad, incluyendo servicios de prevención y educación, intervención temprana, tratamiento y servicios de prevencion de manera económica, respetuosa, adaptada a la cultura e idioma del paciente y adecuada para la edad del paciente.

Our Mission

Gardner is dedicated to improving the health status of the communities we serve, especially the disenfranchised, disadvantaged and most vulnerable members. Our mission is to provide high quality, comprehensive health care, including prevention and education, early intervention, treatment and advocacy services which are affordable, respectful, culturally, linguistically and age appropriate.

Gardner is an affiliation of two 501(C)(3) organizations:

  • Gardner Family Health Network, Inc. - Federal Tax Identification Number 94-1743078

  • Gardner Family Care Corporation, Inc - Federal Tax Identification Number 23-7153068

FTCA Deemed