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CDC researchers to probe Palo Alto teen suicide clusters

Washington: A team of researchers from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) arrived in Palo Alto on Tuesday to investigate the recent teen suicide clusters in the affluent city.

The researchers will remain in the city for two weeks. During their stay in the city, the researchers will analyze data and talk ith community members as part of an "Epi-Aid" investigation.

"They're really here to investigate and help us understand the youth suicides," said Mary Gloner, Executive Director of Project Safety Net in Palo Alto. "They'll be looking at data we've already collected, exploring different programs and examining the media of how the coverage of teen suicides during the prime time period."

It is learned that researchers will spend a considerable amount of time to examine data from the Santa Clara County coroner's office, data from local hospitals, district schools and calls to emergency service agencies. The researchers will also facilitate about eight informational meetings with students, parents, teachers and community leaders about suicide prevention strategies.

The CDC decided to send the team after receiving a joint request from the Palo Alto Unified School District, City of Palo Alto and the Santa Clara County Department of Public Health to find out why teen suicides have occurred so frequently. Each agency will provide data and convene community members to speak with researchers. The CDC will provide most financial resources.

According to Project Safety Net, there were seven teen suicides in Palo Alto between 2009 and 2011 and four suicides were recorded in 2014-2015.The teen suicide rate in Palo Alto last yearwas the highest in 10 years. In response, Palo Alto Unified School District allocated $250,000 for mental health services and more full-time school counselors.