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Community Grieves Latest in String of Youth Suicides

WESTERVILLE (Lu Ann Stoia) -- A local school district reached out to people grieving the apparent suicide of a 17-year-old student Wednesday.

"We extend our sincerest condolences to the students family, friends and loved ones," Westerville School District stated in a letter to the community.
Police were called to the bike path near Hoover Reservoir after a man walking his dog discovered the body about 9:47 a.m.

Investigators said a teen was hanging in the tunnel that runs under Sunbury Road.

School officials said they are following crisis protocols and will have grief counselors available for staff and students.

This is the third student suicide reported this week. 

An 8-year-old Columbus girl took her life in a school bathroom, a Gahanna sophomore shot herself in a park Monday night, and Wednesday's suicide of the Westerville South senior has rocked the Central Ohio community.

Suicide is the third leading cause of death in 15- to 24-year-olds, according to Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center.

Counselor Tasha Castor, of Kovacs Counseling in Columbus, said it is natural to want to make sense of suicide, and sometimes there is no sense to make of it.

"The adolescent brain is not fully formed," Castor said. "Kind of a theme that has been running through suicides we have seen recently is a kind of hopelessness. They are having difficulty in understanding that there is something beyond their crisis in the moment."

Castor said it is important for adults to have a continuing dialogue with teens to help them overcome the obstacles they may be facing.

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