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The CDC is investigating a cluster of teen suicides in Palo Alto

“I need to know if you’re doing something stupid.” A mother shakes a fistful of bloody tissues while confronting her teenage daughter about fears that the girl is cutting herself. In this case, the “mother” is Stanford University psychiatrist Dr. Rona Hu and this scenario is playing out on a stage at Mills High School in Millbrae, California. It’s just up Highway 280 from Palo Alto, a wealthy Silicon Valley city that is known for being the home of Stanford University and Facebook. Increasingly, though, it's gaining a reputation for being the home to a troubling increase in teen suicides. Seven years ago, three students from Gunn High School killed themselves; last year, there was another cluster of four suicides at Gunn, Palo Alto High and another private school. Just last week, the death of a recent Gunn graduate was ruled a suicide.

(Photo credit: Grace Hwang Lynch)

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