The dad of a first-grade girl killed in the 2012 Sandy Hook School shooting has died of an apparent suicide, local police told the Hartford Courant.
Jeremy Richman, the 49-year-old father of the late Avielle Richman, was a staunch mental health advocate. After the December 2012 shooting in Newtown, Connecticut, which left 20 children and six teachers dead, he quickly devoted himself to a foundation named for his daughter, which funded brain science research. He had previously worked as a researcher at a pharmaceutical company.
As Connecticut Sen. Richard Blumenthal told reporters when he was asked about Richman’s apparent suicide, "We have no idea as to what precipitated this death.” Usually, multiple factors contribute to a person showing warning signs of suicidal behavior.
For those worried their loved ones may be at risk for suicide, warning signs of suicidal behavior can include increased substance use, anxiety or recklessness, extreme mood swings and changes in sleep patterns. The vast majority of people who consider suicide never take their own lives, and evidence-based treatment and interventions help.
Two survivors of last year’s shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, have died by suicide in the past week. Sydney Aiello, 19, was experiencing “survivor’s guilt” and post-traumatic stress disorder after her close friend died in the February 2018 shooting that killed 17 people, her parents said. A 16-year-old boy whose name has not been made public also died by suicide.
Over the past weekend, Parkland community members gathered to discuss ways they can help those with mental health issues.
The suicide of one person or multiple people in quick succession can contribute to a preventable phenomenon known as “suicide contagion.” Suicide risk can be minimized among peer groups after high-profile deaths by referring people to mental health services.
If you or someone you know is in crisis, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-8255, text TALK to 741741, or visit https://suicidepreventionlifeline.org for more information.
Cover image: In this Nov. 14, 2014, file photo, Jeremy Richman, father of Sandy Hook Elementary school shooting victim Avielle Richman, addresses the Sandy Hook Advisory Commission in Newtown, Conn. (AP Photo/Jessica Hill, File)