On February 13th, 2016 my firstborn son my junior JJ died by Suicide. Since then my world has not been the same.
JJ was my firstborn son. A smart, charismatic, funny 12-year-old who would brighten any room that he set foot in. He had many friends, played sports, got straight A's in school, basically he was not the kid who many would think would be depressed or take his own life.
But that's just it. If I could leave one thought about mental health or suicide in everyone's mind is that you never know what a person may be going through whether they are 45 years old rich and famous or 12 years old seemingly without a care in the world they could be suffering from a mental health crisis and need to be recognized.
Our family created JJ's Hello Foundation in our son's name in order to help educate parents, teachers, students, and the public about the warning signs of teenage depression and suicide. Our goal is to prevent any family from living the pain we do each day. Doing so is both difficult (reliving JJ's death each day) and rewarding (saving the lives of other children). Parents need to have serious conversations with their kids regardless if they believe their kids are happy. By having these open and honest conversations with your kids you are letting them know that they are not alone and that someone is there that they can come to if / when they have a mental health crisis.
Now me and the thousans of other survivors of suicide loss are the only ones who can speak for our loved ones who left us too soon. I know no matter what I will never stop speaking about my son too anyone who is willing to hear his story and I will never stop doing everything I can to keep another person young or old from making the same tragic choice he made.