Suicide pact: ‘Middle school hard time for all’

No one hurt when pact circulated at Calapooia Middle School in Albany

Stephen Canova with Lines for Life Crisis Intervention, Feb. 27, 2015 (KOIN 6 News)

ALBANY, Ore. (KOIN 6) — A crisis intervention specialist said he’s surprised to hear about a suicide pact that circulated at an Albany middle school, but said middle school is a very difficult time in life.

Calapooia Middle School in Albany (Google Street View)
Calapooia Middle School in Albany (Google Street View)

The pact became known when a parent notified Calapooia Middle School after her daughter told her about the pact being circulated. The parent said her daughter had been encouraged to sign.

Stephen Canova with Lines for Life Crisis Intervention said, “Middle school is such a hard time for all of us. We are figuring out who we are.”

He said he was glad word of the suicide pact was confronted and dealt wityh in a direct way.

“So much of suicide lives in the shadows of stigma,” he said. “When we talk about it and address it in an upfront way, we create a dialogue and start breaking down some of those barriers.”

The student behind the pact is an 8th-grader who reportedly considered it a joke.

Canova said he was “incredibly sad” to hear that. “For me, suicide is never a joke. We would take every threat very seriously.”

One of the students approached to sign was Wyatt Hermsen. “It kind of put me in a shock that she asked me that. I would never do that,” he said.

In a pact situation, some psychiatrists said the secret bond and trust teens develop can result in doing something they wouldn’t have the courage to do on their own.

In this case, people spoke up and no one was hurt.

“Every threat needs to be addresses and taken seriously,” Canova said. “The results of not taking it seriously could be the loss of a young person’s life.”

Suicide warning signs include: Behavior changes, withdrawing from loved ones, neglecting hygiene, sleep changes.

Suicide risk factors include: Previous suicide attemtps, talking about death, depression.

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If you or someone you know is in crisis, there are places to call.

Lines for Life – Suicide Lifeline 1.800.273.8255
Lines for Life – Youthline 1.877.968.8491
or text teen2teen to 839863

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