News

Support services available following death of MVHS student

Mountain View High School officials told parents in an email Monday afternoon that one of the school's students, Eddie Keep, has died.

Principal Dave Grissom's letter to parents said that despite the summer break, support services will be available for students affected by the loss, including CHAC therapists as well as district administrators and teachers.

Grissom said the district will not share information about the cause of death, honoring a request from the family, but acknowledged that there are rumors that Keep died by suicide. Grissom's message does not confirm or deny the rumors, instead stating that now is an "opportunity" for parents to have an open dialogue about mental health.

"Suicide, when it does occur, is a very complicated act," Grissom said in the letter. "It is usually caused by a mental disorder such as depression, which can prevent a person from thinking clearly about the problems of his or her life and how to solve them."

Some students already grieving the loss of relatives or loved ones may have a heightened reaction to their classmate's death, and parents may need to keep a "watchful eye" on them, he said.

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The Mountain View-Los Altos High School District has a range of student wellness services, including in-house therapists, who are available to assist students. Several hotlines are available on the district's website, and families are encouraged to call Clinical Services Coordinator Susan Flatmo at 510-387-6271.

Flatmo said Wednesday that the district's decision to refrain from sharing the circumstances of Keep's death while acknowledging the speculation surrounding it is an important one.

"We live during a time in which suicide is the second leading cause of death for teens, behind accidents. Not acknowledging our students’ speculations about suicide would have left them alone to navigate their thoughts, feelings and questions about this subject," Flatmo told the Voice in an email. "Our aim was to use the fact that there was some speculation about suicide as a doorway for parents to connect with their teens so that their teens would not be alone with thoughts about suicide and the loss of a teen -- perhaps someone they knew and had an interaction with."

Any person who is feeling depressed, troubled or suicidal can call 1-800-784-2433 to speak with a crisis counselor. People in Santa Clara County can call 1-855-278-4204. Spanish speakers can call 1-888-628-9454.

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Support services available following death of MVHS student

by / Mountain View Voice

Uploaded: Tue, Aug 7, 2018, 8:31 am

Mountain View High School officials told parents in an email Monday afternoon that one of the school's students, Eddie Keep, has died.

Principal Dave Grissom's letter to parents said that despite the summer break, support services will be available for students affected by the loss, including CHAC therapists as well as district administrators and teachers.

Grissom said the district will not share information about the cause of death, honoring a request from the family, but acknowledged that there are rumors that Keep died by suicide. Grissom's message does not confirm or deny the rumors, instead stating that now is an "opportunity" for parents to have an open dialogue about mental health.

"Suicide, when it does occur, is a very complicated act," Grissom said in the letter. "It is usually caused by a mental disorder such as depression, which can prevent a person from thinking clearly about the problems of his or her life and how to solve them."

Some students already grieving the loss of relatives or loved ones may have a heightened reaction to their classmate's death, and parents may need to keep a "watchful eye" on them, he said.

The Mountain View-Los Altos High School District has a range of student wellness services, including in-house therapists, who are available to assist students. Several hotlines are available on the district's website, and families are encouraged to call Clinical Services Coordinator Susan Flatmo at 510-387-6271.

Flatmo said Wednesday that the district's decision to refrain from sharing the circumstances of Keep's death while acknowledging the speculation surrounding it is an important one.

"We live during a time in which suicide is the second leading cause of death for teens, behind accidents. Not acknowledging our students’ speculations about suicide would have left them alone to navigate their thoughts, feelings and questions about this subject," Flatmo told the Voice in an email. "Our aim was to use the fact that there was some speculation about suicide as a doorway for parents to connect with their teens so that their teens would not be alone with thoughts about suicide and the loss of a teen -- perhaps someone they knew and had an interaction with."

Any person who is feeling depressed, troubled or suicidal can call 1-800-784-2433 to speak with a crisis counselor. People in Santa Clara County can call 1-855-278-4204. Spanish speakers can call 1-888-628-9454.

Comments

Sarah1000
another community
on Aug 7, 2018 at 1:45 pm
Sarah1000, another community
on Aug 7, 2018 at 1:45 pm
75 people like this

My deepest condolences to the Keep family and the MVLA community. Thank you to Dr Flatmo, MVLA and CHAC for offering their services even though the school year has yet to begin. I will be forever grateful that when my son was hospitalized during a depressive episode in August before school began, Dr Flatmo was available to our family and assisted greatly in his transition back to school.

If you feel that your youth (of any age) is at immediate risk of self-harm or harming anyone else, please call 911 and ask them to send a CIT officer.

If your youth is in crisis (and is under 18 yrs of age and is in Santa Clara County) but is not at immediate risk, you can call Uplift Family Services's 24-HOUR CRISIS LINE (408) 379-9085 or toll-free (877) 41-CRISIS (412-7474) and they will send a crisis counselor to you free of charge.

If you are a TEENAGER in crisis, you can call Bill Wilson Center CRISIS LINE:  408-850-6140, or the Teen Hotline: 650-579-0353
or you can text anything to 741741 to start a conversation with a trained volunteer. For LGBTQ specific support, please call the Trevor Project Lifeline: 866-488-7386 .

The following local organizations offer free evaluations for possible mental health conditions in youth:

Bay Area Children's Association serves youth through age 25: Web Link

El Camino Hospital ASPIRE Intensive Outpatient Program serves youth through age 25. Call 650-940-7000 (Mountain View); 408-866-4021 (Los Gatos)

Children's Health Council serves youth up to age 17 and offers free 30 minute Care Consultations. Call 650.688.3625; Español 650.688.3650

Additional Resources:

NAMI Santa Clara County's Warmline Help Desk 1-408-453-0400, option 1. (Press #1 at any time during recorded message to reach the Warmline) can answer questions about additional resources.




Maher
Martens-Carmelita
on Aug 7, 2018 at 2:22 pm
Maher, Martens-Carmelita
on Aug 7, 2018 at 2:22 pm
23 people like this

Tears flowing... no adequate words except my heart spasm-ed with grief at yet another young person's despair. So very sorry for this family.


MV Resident
Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Aug 7, 2018 at 2:57 pm
MV Resident, Another Mountain View Neighborhood
on Aug 7, 2018 at 2:57 pm
35 people like this

Your email said the family requested that information about his death not be shared at this time, and you follow that up with a statement about suicide. Nice way to respect the parents' wishes. All you needed to do was provide contact information for therapists and counselors.


MV resideent
Shoreline West
on Aug 7, 2018 at 3:22 pm
MV resideent, Shoreline West
on Aug 7, 2018 at 3:22 pm
49 people like this

I'm grieving for the family. Can this article be rewritten? Please "honor a request from the family" and not even mention the cause of death, even if it's a rumor. We need to uphold high standards in journalism instead of spreading rumors.


Sarah1000
another community
on Aug 7, 2018 at 3:51 pm
Sarah1000, another community
on Aug 7, 2018 at 3:51 pm
7 people like this

Also, if you are a family member of a youth who is refusing help and who is not in immediate danger, Teen Therapy Center of Silicon Valley offers in-home therapy Web Link. Also, The Bodin Group Web Link may be able to help and are happy to advise you. Bodin also offers a mentorship program which pairs your teen/young adult with a young adult mentor who is overseen by a psychologist.


harvardmom
Registered user
Monta Loma
on Aug 7, 2018 at 6:20 pm
harvardmom, Monta Loma
Registered user
on Aug 7, 2018 at 6:20 pm
27 people like this

Thank you Dave Grisman for talking about how this student died. I am a substitute teacher at MVHS, and I care deeply for the students, which is why I do it. I've had the experience of a student telling me he wanted to end his life. I reported the situation to the administration, which you can be sure takes this stuff VERY seriously. I'm trained in many things, but mental health at this level I am not. Why the student trusted me, I don't know, but thankfully he did, and he got help. Had I kept his secret, who knows what would have happened. If Dave Grisman doesn't share the cause of death of a student, then what are we to learn? Why keep a stigma around suicide and mental health so that it's not reported, not shared, not acted upon? I know Dave (though he wouldn't necessarily know me) and appreciate all that he does for the students. He's approachable and wants all of us who participate in the educational experience as students, teachers, aides, and more to be vigilant. But to keep mental illness and suicide issues behind closed doors would be a terrible disservice. I will be even more astute now. We can't help if we don't know. And talking about mental health and suicide needs to be in the dialog so that students and others will feel safe and get the help they need. My sincerest, deepest condolences to the Keep family and to the MVHS community.


Steven Nelson
Registered user
Cuesta Park
on Aug 8, 2018 at 12:50 pm
Steven Nelson, Cuesta Park
Registered user
on Aug 8, 2018 at 12:50 pm
Like this comment

Perhaps there is a need for a "mandatory reporter" state law for student mental health issues of an extreme nature. These types of laws apply to school employee observed/suspected sexual or child abuse issues and could equally be applied to student's extreme metal health issues.

Harvard Mom - these are all covered by state confidentiality laws (and federal health information disclosure laws): it is not up to Grissom to override the consensus of the community (statewide and nationwide) as it has clearly been expressed by the laws (state and federal). The public debate on these issues has been many years long - well documented and debated - and well covered in the press and by commentators at every level.


mvyoungprof
Registered user
Shoreline West
on Aug 8, 2018 at 6:06 pm
mvyoungprof, Shoreline West
Registered user
on Aug 8, 2018 at 6:06 pm
20 people like this

To everyone criticizing the author for disrespecting the family's wishes, it was clearly meant as a PSA. As someone whose family member has succumbed to teenage suicide (and in the 80s, when suicide was even more stigmatized) I cannot relay how important prevention through discussion is. We simply cannot assume this young man committed suicide, but we should address the fact that some youth will believe the rumors, and it thus becomes a public safety concern even if not true.

Studies strongly show the domino effect of suicide - one person's suicide greatly raises the risk of others following suit whether we personally knew the person or not. The effect is even observed when celebrities commit suicide - international rates increase. We live in a suicide hot zone with our competitive schools, and perfect seeming exteriors. Talking about it is the only thing that can help save a life. My deepest condolences to the family, and I hope they know that the community supports them.


kevinb9n
Registered user
Cuernavaca
on Aug 8, 2018 at 11:58 pm
kevinb9n, Cuernavaca
Registered user
on Aug 8, 2018 at 11:58 pm
15 people like this

It seems this was hard to follow:

1. The cause of Eddie's death is not known.

2. For whatever reasons, none hard to imagine, the kids are talking about the cause being suicide, and may be reacting as if it is.

3. Therefore suicide is a thing we need to be talking about.

I think the family's privacy is being respected.


harvardmom
Registered user
Monta Loma
on Aug 9, 2018 at 8:42 am
harvardmom, Monta Loma
Registered user
on Aug 9, 2018 at 8:42 am
9 people like this

Maybe Dave Grissom erred (Steven Nelson), maybe he didn't (myself, along with others). I support him and hope that the difficult dialog of speaking with our teens about it is on everyone's minds. The statistics are downright frightening:

March 19, 2018 - USA Today
The suicide rate for white children and teens between 10 and 17 was up 70% between 2006 and 2016, the latest data analysis available from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Although black children and teens kill themselves less often than white youth do, the rate of increase was higher — 77%.

American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (Web Link) - 123 suicides per day in the U.S. "While this data is the most accurate we have, we estimate the numbers to be higher. Stigma surrounding suicide leads to underreporting, and data collection methods critical to suicide prevention need to be improved."

Margot Kidder's daughter just came out with this statement today:

“It’s a big relief that the truth is out there. It’s important to be open and honest so there’s not a cloud of shame in dealing with this.”

Now my two cents:
Let's build a dialog, not stifle one. Let's learn how to help our teens, not turn the other way because it's uncomfortable or embarrassing.

I hope the school counselors, teachers and administrators continue to help their students with as much transparency and honesty as possible.


Steven Nelson
Registered user
Cuesta Park
on Aug 9, 2018 at 12:16 pm
Steven Nelson, Cuesta Park
Registered user
on Aug 9, 2018 at 12:16 pm
2 people like this

@harvardmon I totally agree "I hope the school counselors, teachers and administrators continue to help their students with as much transparency and honesty as possible."

But different families process their own grief in different ways at different time scales. Some families want more private time, and others want to share. My comments are mainly that the family wishes must be respected by law.

Nearby prominent families have lost kids and gone very public after their grieving period. The Dauber's of Palo Alto/Stanford University have been one such family, that have used their grief to effect substantial change on how institutions handle bullying and sexual intimidation/assault in educational settings. Not all families have the resources or public stamina of that law school professor and her school board husband.


Steven Nelson
Registered user
Cuesta Park
on Aug 9, 2018 at 12:24 pm
Steven Nelson, Cuesta Park
Registered user
on Aug 9, 2018 at 12:24 pm
2 people like this

BTY "If Dave Grissom erred..." The administrator of Mountain View High School certainly did not error! He did not disclose anything that he should not.


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