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West Michigan mother raising awareness on Suicide Prevention Month through son's story

Posted at 10:32 PM, Sep 12, 2020
and last updated 2020-09-13 14:56:20-04

BELMONT, Mich.  — September is Suicide Prevention Month.

Its goal is to remember those affected by it, raise awareness, and focus on getting treatment to those who need it most.

Releasing lanterns alongside the ones who loved him the most at a Belmont cemetery, Terri Ferrer says this shows her son Alex’s impact.

“My son was a good kid, he was very kind, loving and he would do anything for anybody,” said Ferrer.

In September 2018, the West Michigan mother lost her only son at 16 year old after he died by suicide.

Ferrer says while at work, a friend called her and asked her to go home as soon as possible.

“I said, ‘Why?’ and she just told me there was something wrong with Alex and they don’t know what’s going on, but her son and her husband were on their way to the house,” said Ferrer. “I just remember the fire trucks and police cars and just so much sirens. After that, I don’t remember too much.”

According to Ferrer, a break up left her happy, hilarious son, who played soccer and video games, feeling as if there were no other options.

“He wasn’t able to understand that within 24 or 48 hours that it was going to be a little bit better,” said Ferrer. “Pay attention to your children.”

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention calls suicide a serious public health problem, explaining it can have lasting, harmful impacts on individuals, families, and communities.

Suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in the United States, but second leading among 10 to 34 year olds.

Since 2001, the overall rate has increase 31 percent.

“It has changed me,” said Ferrer. “My whole life has changed. I know his friends are hurting really bad too.”

Experts say warning signs include mood swings and impulsive behaviors. Someone in crisis may also give away possessions or say goodbye to friends and family.

The CDC says prevention is key, advocating for people to get help while also pushing for stronger economic supports, access and delivery of suicide care, connectedness, etc.

Terri agrees saying it will get better.

“I know that you feel you’re alone and that no one really cares about you, but there are people,” said Ferrer. “It’s important to talk about how you feel always and not be afraid to say, ‘Hey, I don’t feel like I want to be here anymore,’ and hopefully somebody will stand up and say, ‘Hey, no you need to be here.’”

If you or someone you know is in an emergency, professionals say to immediately call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-TALK or 911.