SACRAMENTO — Mental health experts and families say suicide and the factors behind it need to be discussed so it can be prevented.
“He wanted all his money to go to a depression and bipolar organizations so other people didn’t feel like they had to do what he was going to do,” Gail Spelis said.
Spelis lost her grandson, 16-year-old Tycho Spelis-Chiusano, to suicide in May.
Tycho was never diagnosed with depression, and his family had no idea he was struggling.
The night of his death still haunts his aunt.
“Ten minutes before he called me just to tell me how much he loved me,” Catherina Spelis said. “And now I see the signs.”
His family is now making the wish he left in his note happen, donating more than $20,000 from a GoFundMe account to the Sacramento chapter of the National Alliance of Mental Illness — NAMI.
“For someone who is having suicidal thoughts of ending their life, I just want them to know there is help out there and they need to raise their hand. Because sometimes people are very good at hiding it,” NAMI Sacramento Executive Director David Bain said.
Through their grief, Tycho’s family is focused on helping others.
“If we just save one person, it’s someone’s Tycho,” his grandmother said. “That’s worth saving.”
If you feel extreme distress, you can call 1-800-273-8255, the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, to speak with someone who will provide free and confidential support 24 hours a day, seven days a week. If you want to learn how to help someone in crisis, you can call the same number.