Guest Opinion: A silver lining of collaboration has emerged from a dark cloud | June 11, 2010 | Palo Alto Weekly | Palo Alto Online |

Palo Alto Weekly

Spectrum - June 11, 2010

Guest Opinion: A silver lining of collaboration has emerged from a dark cloud

by Meg Durbin, M.D.

Spring is often a bittersweet time for families, filled with celebrations, graduations, life transitions, separations. This has been particularly true the past two springs in Palo Alto, with the well-known losses of young people from our community.

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Meg Durbin is an internist and pediatrician at the Palo Alto Medical Foundation who has led the effort in the past year to ease details of sharing information (with parent approval) between health care providers, mental health professionals and school officials. She can be e-mailed at


Posted by Paul Losch, a resident of Community Center
on Jun 12, 2010 at 12:18 pm

Thanks for a thoughtful editorial.

What I find missing in this whole matter is what are families doing or not doing that have led to the suicides. Is there a pattern? How well educated are parents about clinical depression, which is a physical disease that is presented in late adolesence through the mid 20's.

This an incredibly complex matter, and our community is doing a great deal to address it. Getting to it at a family level is another part of what we need to end the tragedies. I do not have the expertise to suggest how that gets done, but I do have the experience as a parent to set objectives.

Posted by KJ, a resident of another community
on Jun 13, 2010 at 11:02 am

An enlightened, and enlightening, article. Thank you for writing it.

If you can publish statistics on how many young people have been served because of these new collaborations and new outreach, people would learn that the need for mental healthcare is not unusual and should not be neglected, just as one would not neglect a physical healthcare need. We might also learn whether the "receding in time" of the tragedies is attributable to your success in preventing new ones.

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