BELMONT, Mich. — A West Michigan mother is continuing to share her son’s story in the years after his death as part of National Suicide Prevention and Awareness month.
“He was just a good child,” said Terri Ferrer. “Very loving, giving, caring, kind, [and] funny. I miss him a lot. It’s very difficult to be without him.”
In September 2018, Ferrer’s only child, 16-year-old Alex, died by suicide. She believes a mixture of life pressures led him to falsely believe it was the only option.
“There’s no more milestones for my son,” said Ferrer. “He didn’t graduate from high school, he’s not going to college. He doesn’t have a job, he’s not going to get married or have children.”
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention describes suicide as a serious public health problem that impacts not only the individual, but the health and well being of their loved ones as well.
Suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in the United States, but second leading cause among people ages 10 to 34 years old. Since 2001, the overall suicide rate has increased by 33 percent.
Warnings signs of suicide include increased substance use, extreme mood swings, and talking about wanting to die.
The CDC says suicide is preventable and points to success stories among those who receive treatment. It suggests people, “Ask, keep them safe, be there, and help them connect,” to safeguard people at risk of suicide.
“I was naive to all that,” said Ferrer. “Never, ever did I think my son would do that. Never. I never would think my son would take his life or even think about it.”
Ferrer is pushing people to de-stigmatize their emotions and understand it’s okay to feel it all. She also encourages people to seek out help.
“It’s very important to be there for people and be supportive,” said Ferrer.
If you or someone you know is in a crisis, professionals urge you to call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1(800)273-TALK or 911.