Community Impact

Students partner with BCF to prevent teen suicide

On May 31, 2016, high school senior Seniu Maitland took his own life. Shaken by his death, four OSU students who are close to the Maitland family began raising money to establish a fund with the Benton Community Foundation, aiming to confront the problem of teen suicide.

Seniu's death was not an isolated incident. According to the CDC, suicide is the second-leading cause of death fro youth ages 10 to 24 in the US. In Oregon, it has been increasing since 2000, outpacing the national average in 2012 by 42 percent.

"Suicide is a bomb," said Joyce Mailand, Seniu's mother. "There's shrapnel. And the closer you are to it, the deeper your wound. But it doesn't just affect those nearby. There's no one that's not affected."

The student-donors—Ranya Guennoun, Zbigniew Sikora, Beatrice Gnetti, and Berkley Noble, all 18 to 19 years old—are working to spread awareness among educators, dismantle the taboo of talking publicly about teen suicide, and improve access to care.

If you'd like to join them in that effort, you can send your tax-deductible contribution to BCF for the Seniu Tuimanu'a Maitland Foundation (STMF) fund. You can donate online by clicking here and choosing "STMF Fund" from the drop-down menu.

"The question isn't what we could have done differently," Joyce Maitland said. "It's what we can do now."