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Ashley Murray Still Missing; Local Therapist Reaches Out

An East End therapist posts an open letter to Ashley, shares warning signs of teen suicide with parents.

One week and one day since Peconic teen the search continues -- and a local therapist sends out a message in hopes of bringing her home.

Ashley, 16, disappeared after leaving a suicide note.

On Tuesday, Southold Town Police said while there has still been no sign of Ashley, the department "is still actively investigating this Missing Person case and have added more resources to our investigative side with another investigator from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Persons being assigned to us and continued assistance from various units within the Suffolk County Police Deparment."

Ashley's brother, Jaime Cradehl, said as of Tuesday, there was "nothing new to inform anyone of," and said his family's statement stands.

Meanwhile, with days passing, family and even those who have never met Ashley have come together in a wide circle of concern, creating Facebook pages and handing out flyers.

East Hampton therapist Mary Bromley, who worke with kidnapping victim Katie Beers after the girl came to find live and find support in East Hampton, said both she and Beers had discussed Ashley on the radio; Beers posted Ashley's photo on her own Facebook page.

Bromley also reached out to Ashley on the "Ashley Come Home" Facebook page.

On Tuesday, she wrote another note to the teen, in hopes that Ashley might read it: "Dear Ashley: If you are reading this and if you feel nervous about going home, you may want to talk to someone. I want to tell you that you are not alone. The awful feelings you have right now will eventually go away. Many other kids have gone through what you are feeling. Just pick up the phone and call your family or the police. If you want someone to help you do thatcall me at 631-324-8720. I promise I can help. I  am a therapist and have helped other kids who feel the same way you feel right now. Someday, you may help someone else, Ashley. Life works like that. We all hope to hear from you soon."

Bromley also discussed warning signs of depression that parents should be aware of in their children.

Signs of depression in a child differ from those exhibited in an adult, she said. "Teenagers may not appear 'sad,'" she said. " However, they may become irritable, withdraw from social activities, engage in self harm, such as cutting, neglect hygiene, engage in risky behaviors or substance abuse and exibit violence towardself or others or animals."

Teens battling depression might also engage in overeating, be anorexic, bulimic, withdraw from school, display anger, mood, and behavioral changes, she said. 

Parents whose children are depressed or suicidal should notice, pay attention, and discuss without emotion, Bromley said.

"The main issue is that parents should not be afraid," she said. "Calmly bring up the issues of concern, without emotion. Kids want help even if they don't respond well. They hardly ever respond well. Explain to them that you are aware of behavior changes. Offer to be someone who listens and loves them."

Sharing personal experiences helps, Bromley said. "Tell them what you went through as a teenager. Be honest -- they love this," she said.

Parents should also offer therapy and allow their kids to interview and choose their own licensed therapist.

"Finally if your child is monitored and found to have major depression or suicidal ideation, medication may be indicated," Bromley said. "Most of the time, medication is not needed."

Bromley said she "cannot stress how relieved kids feel when you notice they seem depressed. Just this attention is often all that is needed. Do not assume you can leave them alone and it will 'go away.' Depression is treatable," she said.

She added, "It is essential to teach your child that life brings many difficulties, and being able to talk and share with another trusted person is the first great lesson of life. They are not alone. The parent is not alone. This is a huge psychological and spiritual insight, which comes as a great relief."

Bromley said other teens are the "first line of defense" in the form of social media --  and can help bring Ashley home. "This is really important," she said. "If your teen has knowledge of another teen talking about suicide or abuse, it cannot be kept secret."

Jim March 05, 2013 at 07:18 PM
Nice to see some quality input from a professional. It sounds like Ms. Bromley, through her work with teenagers, feels at this point, this is a runaway teen situation? That at least leaves some hope. SPD still not giving a press conference? Interesting!
peggsmac March 07, 2013 at 01:47 AM
so long as eileen wingate her dope dealing son and david abatelli breath this will only get worse

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