Schools in Prince George's and Montgomery counties do not have any specific training about teen-age suicide for teachers or staff, say officials, but it is a topic that is discussed during seminars on teen-age problems and depression.
Social workers and psychologists suggest that parents who think their child is having problems that may lead to suicide should contact a community or private mental health center that has trained professionals working with teen-agers and their families in solving such problems.
Experts also urge family and friends of youngsters who have committed suicide to seek help in private therapy or through a group such as Compassionate Friends, a national organization with local branches for parents of children who have died.
In addition, an organization for survivors of suicides, called Seasons: Suicide Bereavement, has just begun meeting at the Unitarian Church at Cedar Lane in Bethesda. It is sponsored by the Montgomery County Mental Health Association and the church. Ellen Zinner, a cofounder of the chapter, says it is only the second of its type in the country.
The organization is a mutual self-help group, says Zinner, who explains that its major function is for "suicide victims" to discuss their personal stories and to share the emotions that run from guilt to relief--and realize that people in similar situations feel the same way.