RARITAN TWP., NJ – The student at the center of the medical emergency at Hunterdon Central High School last week has died.
"It is with great sadness that I write to inform you that one of our students, Allison Vandal, passed away this afternoon," said school Superintended Jeff Moore in an email to parents. "The cause of death was suicide."
Vandal, a sophomore and Readington resident, died Saturday afternoon, Moore said.
Counselors from Hunterdon Medical Center and Traumatic Loss Coalition will be made available to students at the school, according to the email.
"She and her family have been the focus of our thoughts and prayers since Tuesday," Moore wrote. "All of us here at Hunterdon Central offer our thoughts and deepest sympathies to the Vandal family."
According to the National Institute for Mental Health, recent surveys show that suicide - among the leading causes of death in the United States – is on the rise among some populations. It is the third leading cause of death among those between the ages of 10 and 14, and the second leading cause of death among those between the ages of 15 and 34. The American Center for Suicide Prevention shows a slow, steady increase in the suicide rate over the last decade.
There are many suicide prevention and information resources, including locally run CaringContact.
Mental health experts say no one should hesitate to seek help for themselves or anyone that they know. Information about risk factors and how to respond is widely available.