Father of Sandy Hook shooting victim dies from an apparent suicide
Jeremy Richman, the father of six-year-old Avielle Richman, one of the victims of the 2012 Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting, has died from an apparent suicide. Newton police said that the neuroscientist's body was found in his Connecticut office building on Monday morning. They did not close further details, but said that his death does not appear to be suspicious. Richman was 49 years old.
20 students and six adults were killed in the Sandy Hook massacre, which ended after the gunman took his own life. Following the attack, Richman sought to prevent future shootings by co-founding The Avielle Foundation, which has a two-sided mission. "On the one side we have research," states the website. "We are funding neuroscience research aimed at understanding the brain's chemistry, structure, and circuits that lead to violence and compassion." The other side of their mission is "focused on community education and engagement."
Richman's death is the third suicide reported in the past week related to school shootings. Previously, Sydney Aiello, a 19-year-old graduate from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, took her own life. Aiello was close friends with Meadow Pollack, who was among the 17 students and staff killed in the massacre on February 14, 2018. The lone killer was apprehended by the police and currently awaits trial.
Cara Aiello said her daughter Sydney suffered from survivor's guilt and post-traumatic stress disorder but did not seek professional help. 'Survivor's guilt' is a mental condition where someone believes they did something wrong by surviving a traumatic event, while others did not. These traumatic events can include rape, murder, military combat, natural disasters, epidemics, and acts of terrorism such as school shootings.
Many people struggle with mental health issues, but do not seek help for a variety of reasons: the stigma surrounding getting treatment, a lack of funds or adequate health insurance to cover the cost, a lack of viable options in the area, a fear of others finding out they sought help, doubts that the treatment would be effective, and a prevailing feeling that they can just handle the issues on their own.
Following Aiello's death, a second Parkland shooting survivor died in an apparent suicide, the Miami Herald reported. Coral Springs police said that the student was a sophomore and took his own life last Saturday. No further details have been disclosed, as of this writing.
On Sunday afternoon, mental health specialists, teachers, parents, law enforcement officials, child services experts and local leaders in Broward County held an emergency meeting to discuss suicide prevention. "They will be asking parents to take this issue seriously," said Ryan Petty, whose 14-year-old daughter Alaina was among the victims of the Parkland massacre. "Parents cannot be afraid to ask their kids the tough questions."
Petty said the school district will be giving parents the Columbia Protocol, a set of six questions to ask children who may be considering suicide. "During the Spring break, I encourage you to take time to speak with your children every day," said superintendent Robert Runcie. "We need to remove the stigma from talking about suicide."
If you have been affected by any of the issues in this article, contact Your Life Your Voice on 1-800-448-3000, or the National Suicide Prevention Hotline on 1-800-273-8255.