It’s affecting my entire family. We all suffered a horrible tragedy when we lost RJ Ontiveros due to suicide. He was our nanny of several years. He was like a son to me, an older brother to my kids. Depression still seeps in and overwhelms us. It’s like a stranger creeping up when we aren’t looking. The triggers are like the surprise of a jack in the box.
It requires constant situational awareness. Today I’m processing my sons depression. His loss, his grief, his signs and symptoms. The behavioral manifestastions. How this plays out for him as returns to school.
When RJ died, my son didn’t speak for 8 months. One of the last things he said was, “I’m quitting school because I don’t feel safe there.” Truly the school wasn’t prepared for this kind of community crisis. None of the schools were prepared to take any responsibilty for providing emergency crisis counselors on the campuses during the days and weeks after RJ’s shocking death. Now there were emergency counselors there when the 8th grade teacher shot himself. Not when the kids were dying.
RJ’s suicide was one of many youth suicides here on Vashon Island. There are alot of depressed children and families. We know we are not alone. When we tried to get my son help at Seattle Children’s Hospital, there was and still is a long wait list for these families.
As parents, we have faced systemic ignorance, denial, prejudice, discrimination, open hostility, contempt and pure hatred as we have advocated for our son at the elementary school. There is no excuse for the way our son has been treated at his elementary school. What a terrible setback.
This year we have an IEP in play. The good news is that there is both a new principal and vice principal. But the problems with the special needs department at the school are deeply rooted into a much bigger issue. It’s no secret our district is in the beginning of a very ugly lawsuit over alleged abuse throughout the district. The problems begin at the superintendents office and trickle down to each principal’s office, to the nurses offices. Huge problems, even in the cafeterias and at the playgrounds during recess. What a mess.
Well and there is another even uglier lawsuit at the only counseling center on island over other very nasty alleged abuses. It is truly an understatment when I say that our community was un prepared for a youth suicide epidemic. But hey, property values are up. Welcome to fantasy island. During the height of the youth suicides, there were three in one month, one every week for three weeks. It wasn’t just the kids, it was adults also, it was across the board like a flu. It went on for three years like a secret.
Oh and then the little medical clinic closed its doors. We are in a serious holding pattern and the island community scrambles to raise funds to re open it. I don’t know how other people are coping. It’s a living nightmare.
The new vocabularies needed to open a dialog with eachother. It’s a new language. Are you having any suidical ideations? Have you taken your meds? You wouldn’t keep it from me, right? If you’re struggling. Please tell me if you feel like hurting yourself…
…All my friends are HEALING take it slow