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Ida Baker HS to host suicide education workshop

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Ida Baker HS to host suicide education workshop

By Matt Grant. CREATED Oct 22, 2012

CAPE CORAL - An Ida Baker High School student is recovering in the hospital after overdosing in an apparent suicide attempt, a suicide prevention group confirms.

This apparent suicide attempt comes one month after two students at the same Cape Coral school committed suicide less than two weeks apart.  

"I'm deeply saddened and I'm concerned," said school board member Mary Fischer. "When you have a situation like this repeating itself a couple of times, I think that scares people."

When a 16-year-old committed suicide in September, Fischer, who used to work as a counselor at the school, volunteered to help.

"We encourage them to talk to their parents," said Fischer. "And their teachers they feel comfortable with."

Less than two weeks later a 14-year-old committed suicide. Now a third is recovering after an apparent attempt.

Fox 4 is not releasing the names of any of the students.

In Lee County, suicides are up more than five percent over last year, according to CARES, a local suicide prevention group.

The statistics don't take into account attempted suicides.

"I did talk with Michelle King [director child advocacy] at the Children's Hospital [of Southwest Florida]," said Fischer. "And they have probably 15-20 young people between the ages of 10-18 attempting suicide monthly."

"This is not a situation that is unique to Ida Baker High School," said Fischer, "this is a big community problem."

It's a problem Virginia Cervasio knows all too well.

"It breaks my heart," said Cervasio. "Because I know how painful this is for the families."

Cervasio formed CARES, a suicide prevention group, after her son committed suicide in 2006. She doesn't believe this latest incident at Ida Baker signifies a trend.

"Because of the latest two suicides..it's more out in the open," she said. "More people are talking about it."

The Lee County School District is reacting. On Monday Oct. 29, Ida Baker High School will host a workshop for parents to teach them the warning signs. Mental health experts, Cape Coral police and school board members will attend - with the goal of creating a community safety net.

"Create an environment that gives hope to kids," said Fischer, "and lets them know that there's someone there who cares and will help them."

Fischer says the district needs to take action and do whatever they can.

The workshop, which is open to parents and the public, will take place from 6:30-8:00 p.m. Monday Oct. 29.

Ida Baker statement

The staff and students of Ida S. Baker High School would like to take this opportunity to thank our community for their support of our school during this difficult time. Our Baker family is working hard to provide the needed support to our students, staff and families.

We appreciate all of the community members and agencies that have reached out to our school to offer assistance. We have received support from many District staff members and community agencies. Over the past few weeks the school has had a District and school counseling team on campus to provide support and resources to those who need it.

Working with local support agencies, we have created a plan that will continue support throughout the year and includes comprehensive education and support opportunities for students and staff. This is a continuation and enhancement of existing support and training already in place for our school.

To assist parents, in cooperation with several community agencies, Ida S. Baker High will be sponsoring a Parent Education Seminar. This event is scheduled from 6:30-8p.m. Monday, October 29th in our school’s auditorium (3500 Agualinda Blvd., Cape Coral.) The event will provide information to parents on identifying signs of stress, coping strategies and available community resources.

Ida S. Baker High will continue our tradition of excellence as we educate our students to be productive and successful members of our community.

Matt Grant
mgrant@fox4now.com