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Rochester area advocates urge help for those facing mental health issues

March 25, 2019 11:30 PM

ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WHEC) - Rochester area advocates and experts urged help for people facing mental health issues Monday after the apparent suicide of the father of a victim of the Sandy Hook school shooting. 

Jeremy Richman, 49, had visited Rochester in 2017 and spoke at St. John Fisher College to urge attention to mental health issues.

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Richman was found dead on Friday at his office in Newtown, Connecticut. His 6-year-old daughter Avielle was one of 20 children who died in the 2012 shooting rampage. 

"Why? Why does this happen...why me? Why us?" he asked in a 2017 trip to Rochester.

Then, he went on to say, "Find a reason to get up and get out of bed every day. That's the hard part."

As a neuroscientist, Richman spoke out for greater attention to problems of brain chemistry he said could have contributed to violent incidents like the Sandy Hook shooting.

After his suicide, experts cautioned against trying to draw a cause and effect relationship between the loss of his daughter and his death.

"It's hard to know, impossible to know, what one person is going through exactly and predict what the reaction will be," said University of Rochester psychiatrist Michael Scharf. 

Maeve Reed with the group Stop the Stigma ROC, who herself lost a friend to suicide, agreed. She warned that the trauma of a tragic loss could endure for an unpredictably long time.

"Sometimes it will go away for months at a time and all of a sudden you feel like you're back to the day that it happened," she said. 

If you or someone you know needs help, click here or read below for additional resources. 

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 

800-273-TALK (8255)  

The Trevor Project: A hotline for LGBT youth 

866-488-7386

Trans Lifeline: Hotline for transgender people. 

U.S.: (877) 565-8860 

Canada: (877) 330-6366

Crisis Text Line – 741-741

According to Crisis Text Line’s web site, if you text 741-741, you can receive a text from a trained crisis counselor within minutes.

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