Ned Vizzini, noted YA novelist and Brooklyn native, has died of an apparent suicide, the LA Times reports. He was 32 years old.
Vizzini, who grew up in Park Slope and attended Stuyvesant High School, wrote four books for young adults, including 2006's It's Kind of a Funny Story, which was based on his short stint in a Brooklyn psychiatric ward as a teen and was later turned into a film of the same name starring Zach Galifianakis and Keir Gilchrist. Vizzini was also a contributor for alt-weekly newspaper the New York Press, and had a number of essays published in the NY Times, including a poignant 1998 piece on teen angst he penned as a high school junior:
The media present adolescence as hell on earth, chock full of evil cliques (the cliques in grade school are worse), domineering parents and wrenching decisions that will determine the rest of your life. Nah. Adolescence is a time to sit back, make some friends -- and maybe discover what you're good at. Don't believe the hype.
In addition to his writing, Vizzini (who we interviewed in 2004) was an advocate for teen mental health, and spoke at high schools and universities around the country about coping with stress and depression. At the time of his death he was living in Los Angeles, where he authored several episodes for television shows Teen Wolf and Last Resort, according to his website; he also recently co-wrote a fantasy book, House of Secrets, with director Chris Columbus.
If someone you know exhibits warning signs of suicide: do not leave the person alone, remove any firearms, alcohol, drugs or sharp objects that could be used in a suicide attempt, and call the U.S. National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-TALK (8255) or take the person to an emergency room or seek help from a medical or mental health professional.