Local mother’s warning to help others after 10-year-old son tries taking own life

WICKLIFFE, Ohio -- It was a 10-year-old boy's cry for help. “We were in the car and he said, um, mom, I don't understand why I'm still alive."

"He said, I just wanted to go to sleep, mom. I just wanted to go to sleep."

The warning signs were found in something the child carries with him every day: his scrapbook.

Jodi Hutton of Wickliffe said, "He had started drawing himself with a gun to his head at school and that had happened a couple of times."

Hutton said her son then did the unthinkable, by trying to poison himself in the boy’s bathroom, inside a school where he was being bullied by his peers.

"He ate a bunch of pencil lead which doesn't sound like a big deal, um, until you realize that it is, because it could have been poisonous, could have been medication or something serious because the intent was there."

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 4,600 lives are lost each year by youth suicide between the ages of 10 and 24.

But deaths from youth suicide are only part of the problem, as more young people survive suicide attempts than actually die.

Former FOX 8 news anchor Loree Vick lost her husband to suicide 13 years ago.

She suspects he had been battling depression at an early age, which is why she became an advocate for depression awareness and suicide prevention with LifeAct.

"LifeAct is an organization which for the last 25 years has gone into the schools and brought a curriculum to help individuals, help young people learn to recognize the signs of depression in themselves and their peers and thereby prevent suicide,” said Vick.

Those signs include losing sleep, getting too much sleep, changing eating habits, reluctance to go to school and changes in school performance.

This is the time, Loree says, to seek professional help.

Vick adds, “The rate of suicide this is to me is terribly shocking, among 10 to 14-year-olds, has tripled in recent years, up 136 percent in the last 5 years. That's shocking."

Intense therapy is what helped Jodi’s son who is now thriving in school since they relocated from Denver, Colorado, to Wickliffe.

She did not want his face shown on camera in order to give him a fresh start at life.

"...And chance to succeed and that's what I wanted was just him to have the best chance to be happy."

If you or someone you know might be at risk of suicide, there are ways to help:

Call 1-800-273-8255 to reach the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. It provides free and confidential support 24 hours a day, seven days a week for people in suicidal crisis or distress.

Text HOME to 741741 to have a confidential text conversation with a trained crisis counselor from Crisis Text Line. Counselors are available 24/7. You can learn more about how their texting service works here.

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