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Letter to the Editor,
The Star Ledger
March, 2012

Reach out: Help prevent teen suicide in New Jersey

Connor Cameron

Connor Cameron, 15, of Spring Lake Heights, was struck by a train and killed in Spring Lake late Wednesday in an apparent suicide. His death marks at least the 10th suicide among area high school students or recent graduates since 2008. Lisa Schencke, the mother of another young man who stepped in front of a train and died, writes that young people should know they are loved, and should reach out for help in difficult times.

My son, Tim, age 18, stepped in front of a train in Spring Lake Heights in 2008. He was an intelligent, athletic boy with low self-esteem. I am writing to reach out to teens and young adults who are struggling, as well as adults who are sad and frustrated.

Young people: Know that you are valued and loved, and reconsider reaching out to someone you trust before making an irreversible decision. Please talk to someone. You can reach out anonymously by calling the 2nd Floor Youth Helpline at (888) 222-2228.

Itís been a rough four years in southern Monmouth County, but letís consider how many lives have been saved. I know dozens of young people who almost made the wrong decision, but then chose to ask for help. I am grateful to these heroes who are alive today. Most members of my community can name at least a handful of individuals who were at risk and chose life.

I am deeply saddened by the loss of another teenager this week, but am reflecting on how the trend has slowed. I believe these tragedies can be contained if we are available, supportive and unafraid to take action when we feel someone is at risk.

Lisa Schenke
Spring Lake Heights

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