A 15-year-old California girl committed #suicide after struggling to cope with #isolation brought on by the #coronavirus lockdown.
Jo’Vianni Smith died on April 2 after she hanged herself at her Stockton, California, home, reported KCRA3. She did not leave a note, but Danielle Hunt, her mother, suspects her daughter struggled with being sequestered to her home due to the #coronavirus #pandemic. Smith was an accomplished softball player at Bear Creek High School.
Welcome to the “next chapter” of my life… being a voice and an advocate for #mentalhealthawarenessandsuicideprevention, especially pertaining to our younger generation of students and student-athletes.
Getting men to speak up and reach out for help and assistance is one of my passions. Us men need to not suffer in silence or drown our sorrows in alcohol, hang out at bars and strip joints, or get involved with drug use.
Having gone through a recent bout of #depression and #suicidalthoughts myself, I realize now, that I can make a huge difference in the lives of so many by sharing my story, and by sharing various resources I come across as I work in this space. #http://bit.ly/JamesMentalHealthArticle
Hunt is telling her daughter’s story because she wants to help other parents save their children.
“I will still do my best to tell my daughter’s story,” she told FOX40.
“Sometimes we may need to stop and worry about the kids that we don’t think we need to worry about.”
She remembers her daughter as a bubbly girl with an affinity for sports.
“It’s like, how do you explain a girl like her?” Hunt said. “If you met her one time, like, she made an impact in your life.”
Bill Fletcher, one of her former coaches, mourned the teen’s “devastating” death in a Facebook group, according to Extra Inning.
“I’ve coached for over 28 years and these young ladies are like daughters to me. My heart is broken and I can’t stop crying,” he admitted.
He also remembered Smith’s talent and personality fondly.
“She had blazing speed. Jo was a bright star with a great personality and a huge heart and a bright future,” he wrote.
There have been at least five suicides in the area around Smith’s home. Self-#isolation can be hard on adolescents, who are at an age where social groups are a major priority.
“It really is difficult for them that they can’t see their friends from school and that they can only connect with them virtually,” clinical child psychologist Jessica Hawks told KOAA.
Alfonso Apu, director of behavioral health at Stockton’s Community Medical Center, recommends parents encourage open communication and closely observe their children.
“Number one is to increase communication. If you see changes — sad, #isolating too much — that is when you start asking questions,” Apu told KCRA.
“The number one question is: How do you feel? Are you having thoughts of hurting yourself?” he continued. “Some parents think this puts the thought [of #suicide] into a child’s head. But it is reality and you have to be able to talk about it.”
If you or anyone you know are having thoughts of #suicide, please call the #NationalSuicidePreventionLifeline at 1-800-273-8255 or visit the organization’s website.