Parkland shooting survivor kills herself

She struggled attending college because she was afraid of being in a classroom


MIAMI, Fla. – The Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School community in South Florida is mourning another loss. 

Sydney Aiello, 19, was a recent graduate who was at the school the day of the mass shooting when 17 people lost their lives. 

She was a close friend of Parkland shooting victim Meadow Pollack.

Aiello's mother said that Sydney felt survivor's guilt and was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder after being on campus the day of the shooting last year.

Aiello's mom said her daughter struggled to attend college classes because she was afraid of being in a classroom and was sad but never asked for help before she killed herself. 

Now, her mom now hopes Sydney's story can help save others.

"It breaks my heart that we've lost yet another student from Stoneman Douglas," said Ryan Petty, whose daughter Alaina died in the shooting. 

He's focused a lot of effort on suicide prevention since the Parkland tragedy, worried that those traumatized might take their own lives.

Petty said people need to ask questions to someone who might be considering suicide, such as: Have you thought of killing yourself? Have you had any intention of acting on those thoughts?

"My advice to parents is to ask questions. Don't be afraid. Don't wait," said Petty. 

Cindy Arenberg Seltzer is president and CEO of the Children's Services Council of Broward County. 

She said there are lots of community resources, including the 211 hotline and a new program called Eagles' Haven, which is opening next month in Coral Springs.

Seltzer said the Parkland tragedy proved that we all need to work to get over the stigma associated with mental health problems and the inability to ask for help when we're struggling. 

She said it's important for parents to look for suicide warning signs, such as kids who hurt themselves or stop taking part in important activities. 

"Parents have to be a little more aggressive when they see those signs and not just wait for the child to ask for help but maybe to take them to those resources," said Seltzer.

Sydney Aiello loved yoga. Her mom said she wanted to dedicate her life toward helping others.

You can help her family by donating money to a GoFundMe account set up in Sydney's memory. 

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