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Carlsbad mom: Social isolation a factor in 11-year-old son's suicide attempt

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Posted at 4:15 PM, Oct 26, 2020
and last updated 2020-10-27 12:36:45-04

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) - A Carlsbad mother believes the social isolation created by the pandemic was one factor in the suicide attempt of her 11-year-old son.

A photo shows Jessie, 11, playing tetherball outside her home two Thursdays ago. Hours after the photo was taken, his mother Tara says her son vomited.

Soon after, an ambulance was rushing him to the hospital. In her kitchen cupboard was a nearly empty Costco-sized bottle of ibuprofen.

"It was a 500-pill bottle, and we estimate he took 400 pills," said Tara.

At the hospital, Jesse couldn't breathe on his own. His kidneys failed, but doctors were able to save Jesse.

"It's a miracle, so thankful," said a tearful Tara.

The grateful mother is now in search of answers. She talked to her son in the hospital.

"He said he didn't see that there was much worth living for. He felt like there were too many things stacked up against him," said Tara.

Tara believes one of those things has been the social isolation caused by the pandemic. After his family moved, Jesse ended up after a new school in the fall. Tara says his old friends 'ghosted' him.

"I would encourage him to try to make friends in the neighborhood, and he'd say things like 'Why bother?'" said Tara.

Tara thought he was just getting adjusted.

Stan Colllins, a suicide prevention specialist with the San Diego County Suicide Prevention Council, says social isolation can cut kids off from the support they lean on to deal with stressors, big and small.

"We do have data to show there has been an increase in suicidal thoughts among youth," said Collins.

In Jesse's case, those thoughts led to action. Tara says she's sharing her family's story in hopes of helping another family.

"Please lock up your medicaton ... Talk to your kids and see how they're doing. If they need help, make sure you get them help," said Tara.

Tara says counselors are helping come up with a plan to best help Jesse.

If you or someone you care about is experiencing a suicidal or mental health crisis, call the Access and Crisis Line at (888) 724-7240.