STOCKTON, Calif. (KTXL) — A Stockton mother is now working to raise suicide awareness during the COVID-19 pandemic after her own daughter died by suicide last week.
“We can’t think that our kids are OK just because,” said Danielle Hunt.
Hunt’s 15-year-old daughter, Jo’Vianni Smith, was a blazing force behind the bat. She was a Bear Creek High School student who thrived in softball, basketball and music.
“It’s like, how do you explain a girl like her?” Hunt told FOX40. “If you met her one time, like, she made an impact in your life.”
She was a light that her mother said will shine forever despite her tragic end.
Hunt said her teenage daughter hanged herself last week.
Before her death, Hunt said her daughter was bubbly, loving and active on social media.
“I felt that I was doing all that I could as a parent to leave the communication open,” Hunt said.
Hunt said Jo’Vianni left no letter, no sign, nothing of why she did what she did. She believes her daughter may have had trouble coping with California’s stay-at-home order.
Jo’Vianni is not the only teen who has recently died by suicide. In nearby Natomas, educators there say two students have also died.
The Lodi Unified School District released a statement following Jo’Vianni’s death:
We were deeply saddened to learn of Jo’vianni Smith’s passing. Jo’vianni was well loved by the Bear Creek High community. She participated in band, played basketball and softball, and was known for her joyful spirit on campus. She will be dearly missed by those who knew her. Our hearts go out to the students, families, and staff impacted by this tragedy. We are providing remote counseling and bereavement services to those who need support right now.Lodi Unified School District
The videos, pictures and times they shared are what Hunt said helps her through.
“I will still do my best to tell my daughter’s story,” she told FOX40.
As she continues to share her daughter’s life, Hunt reminds parents to have a true heart-to-heart with their kids and help them with their emotions during this pandemic, even if they are smiling and dancing.
“Sometimes we may need to stop and worry about the kids that we don’t think we need to worry about,” Hunt said.
“There’s help out there to help you cope with this pandemic that’s going on right now,” said Jorge Fernandez, the director of behavioral health for Golden Valley Health Centers.
Fernandez, who is a licensed clinical social worker, reminds families there are people they can call for help.
“There are services out there. You can reach out to your medical provider. You can call a local suicide hotline,” he said.
The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline can be reached 24 hours a day, seven days a week at 1-800-273-8255.