In one week, two Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School students have died more than a year since the tragic mass shooting in Parkland, Florida. On March 17, Sydney Aiello, who survived the shooting last year, killed herself. She was only 19. On Saturday, a second student was also found dead. The name of the student has yet to be disclosed.
Aiello’s funeral was held on Sunday. Her family revealed that Aiello was recently diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder since the shooting that killed 17 people from her school. According to CBS Miami, Aiello’s mom said her daughter “struggled with survivor’s guilt” and “struggled to attend college classes because she was afraid of being in a classroom and was often sad recently but never asked for help before she killed herself.”
Psychology Today defines “survivor’s guilt” as “something that people experience when they’ve survived a life-threatening situation, and others might not have.” Examples of people who have survivor’s guilt include “Holocaust survivors, war veterans, lung-transplant recipients, airplane-crash survivors, and those who have lived through natural disasters such as earthquakes, fires, tornadoes, and floods.”
According to The Guardian, the second student who died this week was a male, but his death has not been confirmed as a suicide and is being investigated. “I know he attended Stoneman Douglas. I can’t tell you if it’s related to the Parkland shooting. We don’t know the reasoning behind it. It’s still an ongoing investigation,” Tyler Reik, a spokesman for Coral Springs police, told The Guardian.
Parkland shooting survivor and gun control activist, David Hogg, tweeted “How many more kids have to be taken from us as a result of suicide for the government/school district to do anything? Rip 17+2.”
He also tweeted: “We’re currently in a time where students are reporting record high levels of stress, anxiety, and depression. Our schools need serious mental health funding and proper guidance counselors that aren’t just paid schedulers but are ACTUAL guidance counselors. ESPECIALLY in city schools that are historically underfunded. That face the most gun violence in the United States yet are given little to no resources to deal with the trauma it brings resulting in more retaliation and violence.”
Friends and family launched a gofundme page for the Aiello family. Her page states: “Sydney spent 19 years writing her story as a beloved daughter, sister, and friend to many. She lit up every room she entered. She filled her days cheerleading, doing yoga, and brightening up the days of others. Sydney aspired to work in the medical field helping others in need.”
If you or someone you know is in crisis, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-8255 or text TALK to 741741.