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Teen Suicides In Privileged Suburb: We Have To Keep Talking
WBUR CommonHealth (2014)
  • Gonzalo Bacigalupe, University of Massachusetts Boston
n Newton, an affluent suburb of Boston, three high school students have died by suicide in the last four months. From a community forum to formal school letters, parents have heard mainly about the links between suicide and mental illness. But Dr. Gonzalo Bacigalupe, a Newton dad and president of the American Family Therapy Academy, thought that no one was addressing head-on the elephant in the room. He went public this week in a post headlined, “Is High-Achiever School Culture Breaking Our Kids?” It quickly went viral. His concerns will sound familiar to parents from Palo Alto to Westchester, who see their sleep-deprived children struggling to meet the sky-high expectations of their top-scoring high schools and their hoped-for colleges. And his post evoked an outpouring of comments from Newton and beyond. They ranged from concrete examples of how teachers exacerbate the pressure on kids to arguments that it’s really the students themselves — and their parents — who should be blamed for the stress. Here, Dr. Bacigalupe, a professor in the Department of Counseling and School Psychology at the University of Massachusetts Boston, argues that this painful discussion, though fraught, is healthy. He calls on schools to let parents help more in the difficult task of supporting students through this most vulnerable period. And he calls for an overarching community plan to make teens’ quality of life as high as their test scores.
  • Community health,
  • education,
  • adolescents
Publication Date
Winter February 21, 2014
Citation Information
Gonzalo Bacigalupe. "Teen Suicides In Privileged Suburb: We Have To Keep Talking" WBUR CommonHealth (2014)
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