Batavia residents young and old on Wednesday gathered to talk about an issue they say has deeply affected their community.
The audience had a dialogue inside about death and suicide. Staff members from three organizations plus leaders were on hand to talk to the residents. After a brief introduction, the crowd was split into two discussion groups: one for about 50 parents and another for 12 students.
The parent session touched on topics such as how a child will grieve after losing a friend to suicide and how to get help for a child’s friend that may consider suicide. Batavia Patch did not attend the student session to avoid interfering with the discussion and to respect the privacy of those involved.
Organizers wanted to give people a way to start talking about suicide, especially due to recent tragedies. By the group’s estimate on Thursday, there have been at least three Batavia teens who have died since April 2010. The cause of these deaths have not been publicly confirmed by authorities.
The hope is that parents and their children will continue the dialogue about suicide that started on Wednesday, even as they drove home from the session, said Jan Wright, associate superintendent for teaching and learning at Batavia Public Schools.
Parents such as Heidi Curry of Geneva said the event was informative and supportive. She said the recent young deaths have to be addressed.
“There’s nothing more tragic than a child taking (his or her) own life,” Curry said. “It breaks my heart.”
Curry reiterated one of the evening’s main points, which was that students have to know there is always someone they can talk to if they are struggling in life.
Batavia-based Suicide Prevention Services will likely form a new discussion group about suicide for teens and 20-year-olds, said Steven Binns, the group’s coordinator of volunteers. Information about the discussion group will be posted on the organization's website, spsfv.org.
To read more about what parents discussed during this event, click .
Suicide Prevention Services
- Provides suicide prevention programs, 24-hour hotlines, depression screenings, prevention workshops, short-term counseling, survivor support groups and more.
Victims Services (of the Association of Individual Development)
- Helps distraught victims of crime or trauma, or for crisis intervention advocacy and support referrals.
- Contact Joanne Furnas, director of crisis services, for more information. Her number is 630-966-4350 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
Conley Outreach Community Services
- Helps with bereavement services, grief or to explore healing through the Conley Outreach Farm.
Editor's note: Batavia Patch had the permission of Batavia Public Schools District 101 officials to attend the parent discussion session described in the story. It is the intent of Batavia Patch to provide more information about the resources that are available for students and families dealing with death and suicide. It is not the intention of this website to share personal stories or other private information shared in the session.