Leading media outlets here have reported on the issue regarding the recent shocking death of a 15-year-old fourth form student of a private city school. While details of the actual incident remain unclear, from the little we know, the teen consumed carbon tablets and subsequently died on her way to the hospital. It is not clear as to where she consumed the poisonous substance, but teachers of the school recalled that on the morning of the incident, she reported for school as per usual and looked like her normal self.However, the details regarding the events leading up to her taking her own life are not clear. No doubt, more details would emerge later, but as of now there are several unanswered questions; for example, what would have caused the teen to end her life and what sort of help (if any) was provided to the teen in trying to prevent her from taking this route.Quite a number of persons have already taken to social media to express varying views, but one common thread is that more could have been done and ought to have been done in response to the teen’s situation. In most cases, no one dreams overnight that they want to commit suicide and just do it. It is something that victims think about over time; days, weeks, perhaps months. Most times, the warning signs are there, but many ignore them or they just treat them casually.What is clear from this tragedy is that the entire system – meaning the school, the relatives of the young woman, and even the community in which she was brought up and known to be an exceptionally bright girl – has failed her. For example, it was reported that the teen made a post on one of her social media platforms which would have given some indication that things were not normal. But, like in so many cases, those who should have noticed did not pay attention. This should have been enough reason for the teen’s relatives, her school, and community to take action.The intervention of other agencies who are more equipped and trained to deal with such problems, such as the Education Ministry’s Welfare Department and the Child Care and Protection Agency (CCPA) should have been immediately sought so they could provide the necessary help. We are not certain as to the level of involvement (if any at all) of these agencies in this particular case.One may also want to believe that even the school system failed the teen, since it is being claimed that other students were aware that something was amiss. Was this communicated to the teachers and what action was taken? How could a serious matter such as this go unnoticed by the Principal and other teachers of the school? Assuming that they were unaware of the teen’s situation, did they not notice any strange behaviour from the teen that would warrant immediate intervention? No threat, however, small the threat that may be about ending one’s life should be taken lightly.There is hardly any family in Guyana that has never been touched directly or indirectly by suicide. Experts have pointed to the fact that about 90 per cent of people who die by suicide had some sort of mental illness at the time of their death. Many people die by suicide, because depression is triggered by several negative life experiences and the suffering person does not receive effective treatment or support.Young people are crying out for attention; they need guidance and help or simply someone to speak with; many want to find a way out of their misery. However, sometimes accessing that source of help is very difficult. Perhaps this was the case of the teen being referred to.It is hoped that the relevant stakeholders – especially the agencies responsible for child care and protection matters, the Education Ministry, Non-Governmental Organisations, the churches and communities in general, will re-examine the issue of suicide and in particular, the circumstances surrounding this tragedy and take steps to ensure that something like this is prevented at all costs in the future.Importantly, the lesson to be learnt is that when systems fail our people, the consequences can be deadly.