Parkland shooting survivor, Sydney Aiello, takes her own life

Friday, March 22, 2019
Parkland shooting survivor takes her own life
Parkland shooting survivor takes her own life. Watch the report in the video player above.

MIAMI, Florida -- The Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School community in south Florida is mourning another loss.

WFOR-TV reports, Sydney Aiello was a recent M.S.D. graduate who was at the school the day of the mass shooting when 17 people lost their lives.

Aiello's mother said her daughter took her own life last weekend.

19-year-old Sydney Aiello was a young woman who a Marjory Stoneman Douglas teacher described as a joy to have in class.

Aiello was close friends with Parkland shooting victim Meadow Pollack.

Aiello's mother said Sydney felt survivor's guilt and was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder after being on campus the day of the shooting last year.

Aiello's mom said Sydney struggled to attend college classes because she was afraid of being in a classroom and was sad, but never asked for help before she killed herself.

Her mom hopes Sydney's story can help save others.

"It breaks my heart that we've lost yet another student from Stoneman Douglas," said Ryan Petty.

Petty's daughter, Alaina, died in the shooting. He's focused a lot of effort on suicide prevention since the Parkland tragedy, worried that traumatized students might take their own lives.

Petty says people need to ask questions to someone who might be considering suicide like: "Have you thought of killing yourself," and "have you had any intention of acting on those thoughts".

"My advice to parents is to ask questions, don't be afraid. Don't wait," Petty said.

Cindy Arenberg Seltzer is President and CEO of the Children's Services Council of Broward County. She said there are lots of community resources, like the 211 hotline and a new program called Eagles' Haven, opening next month in Coral Springs.

Seltzer said the Parkland tragedy proved that we all need to work to get over the stigma associated with mental health problems and an inability to ask for help when we're struggling.

She said it's important for parents to look for suicide warning signs, like kids who hurt themselves or stop taking part in important activities.

"Parents have to be a little more aggressive when they see those signs and not just wait for the child to ask for help but maybe to take them to those resources," Seltzer said.

Sydney Aiello loved yoga and her mom said she wanted to dedicate her life towards helping others.