coronavirus

COVID-19 Isolation Caused Maine Teen to Kill Himself, Parents Say

Spencer Smith's parents said he left a note saying he felt "locked in the house"

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The parents of a Maine teenager say "COVID-19 isolation" led to their son's recent suicide.

Spencer Smith, 16, of Brunswick, died by suicide on Friday, according to NBC affiliate News Center Maine.

Smith's parents said he left a note saying he felt "locked in the house" and was growing apart from his friends.

"He's loved by so many that it's hard to believe he's this depressed and he did this," Spencer's dad Jay Smith said.

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Brunswick Superintendent Phillip Potenziano released a statement following Smith's death:

"As Superintendent, I know that the pandemic has been a stressor for everyone, students, staff, and parents. Students' academic life and new family life patterns, work-life, and social life have been completely disrupted. Our entire state and nation are reeling from feelings of isolation."

"The fact is that these times are the hardest any of our students have ever had to face. As the pandemic continues to expand, there are growing feelings of social isolation. Our children and schools are under incredible stress, each trying to do our best. There are no easy answers."

"There will be a time to review and strengthen what we have in place for students, but right now - it is the time to support this family, our students, and staff."

Smith's parents said teenagers need to be supported during the pandemic and part of that is being back in school and taking part in their extracurricular activities.

"The kids need their peers more than ever now," Jay Smith said

The Brunswick School District said it is working with local and state mental health professionals to provide virtual support to fellow students and staff.

SUICIDE PREVENTION HELP: Here is information on suicide prevention from the National Institute of Mental Health. If you are in crisis, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-8255 or reach out to the Crisis Text Line by texting ‘Home’ to 741741. The Maine Crisis Hotline is available at 1-888-568-1112.

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