'It's something you didn't expect.' Patchogue-Medford school district mourns child following suicide

Children, parents and teachers are dealing with the loss of Anders Hart, a fifth grader at Medford Elementary School.

News 12 Staff

Apr 20, 2022, 10:02 PM

Updated 727 days ago

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The Patchogue-Medford Union Free School District is mourning the loss of a child who died by suicide on Easter.
Children, parents and teachers are dealing with the loss of Anders Hart, a fifth grader at Medford Elementary School.
News 12 is told that Hart was smart and an athletic class leader, but who also struggled with depression.
School District Superintendent Dr. Donna Jones sent a letter to parents about the 11-year-old's death, saying in part, "It's something you didn't expect, he was depressed, there were definitely supports here, teachers were definitely helping, the family was doing what they needed to do personally to assist."
District officials say Hart was part of a dual language class at the school and had been together with his classmates since kindergarten.
School psychologist and grief counselor Bobby Khristie says that parents need to make sure they are talking to their children.
"I encourage parents to have open, honest, direct conversations with their children," Khristie says. "That would be a hallmark of a healthy situation..."
The grief counselor also says suicide is the second leading cause of death for people between the ages of 10 and 24.
Some of the warning signs include dramatic mood changes, changes in eat and sleeping habits, withdrawal from friends and family, and giving away prized possessions.
Christopher Coluccio, of Blue Point, lost his 14-year-old son to suicide in September and says sometimes the warning signs are subtle.
"It was an incredible shock," Coluccio says. "I wish I could point to something, something that I can tell people to out for, but it's just really a lot of little things and a lot of conversations that I wish we had."


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