Two Aliso Viejo schools were closed Tuesday after an apparent suicide of a 13-year-old boy whose body was found on a middle school campus, authorities said.
Orange County Sheriff's Department deputies were called to Don Juan Avila Middle School, 26278 Wood Canyon Drive, about 6:30 a.m. after an apparent suicide call led to the discovery of the boy's body on the campus, the department said in a tweet.
The death investigation is being treated as an apparent suicide on the campus, department spokesperson Carrie Braun told KTLA. She said that no students were on campus at the time and officials were able to close the schools down for the day before classes started.
Officials are conducting a full investigation, but the middle school and Don Juan Avila Elementary School, which is located at the same address, were closed for the day.
In an alert, Aliso Viejo city officials said there is no threat to the community and it did not appear that anyone else was injured during the incident.
No other details, including how the boy died, about the incident have been released.
Parents and students gathered at a nearby park after the schools were closed to console each other. Parents took the opportunity to talk to their kids about what they should do if their friends mention they are contemplating suicide or want to die.
“When you see stuff like that, you want to talk to somebody about it — a teacher, or if you know the kid’s parents,” Ian Ellison told his daughter. “You have to say something about it because we end up with a situation like this.”
Psychologist Kita Curry, who serves as director of Didi Hirsch Community Mental Health Center, said more than 500 kids between the ages of 10 and 14 committed suicide across the nation last year.
“We need to realize that when some people are in terrible pain, they can’t figure out another solution," Curry told KTLA. "They go to this solution and we need to notice when people seem to be feeling different and feeling helpless, and reach out to them.”
If you know someone who seems distressed, the best thing to do is just talk to them about it, Curry said. She advised to point out any change in behavior you’ve noticed and mention that you want to know how they’re doing.
“The most important thing is to listen; don’t judge,” she said.
Important note: If you or a loved one is feeling distressed, please remember help is available through the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255. It provides free and confidential emotional support 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. You can also call a loved one, member of the clergy or 911. Additionally, the International Association for Suicide Prevention and Befrienders Worldwide can provide contact information for crisis centers around the world.