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5-year anniversary of Zachary's death

Updated: Jul 19, 2023

June 13th marked the 5th anniversary of my 16-year-old son's death by suicide. It was a difficult month for my family and me as we struggled to cope with our grief. We know now that after five years, it is not going to be easy. The memories, the guilt, the longing, the sadness, and the shock are all still there. We have learned how to cope individually and as a family. We have leaned on those we know are with us on this journey and not counted on support from those who just can't be. Each year living the days leading up to Zach's death and then between his death and funeral (Father's Day) are brutal.

Invariably, I wake up on the Monday following Father's Day and focus on the progress we have made at Kid in the Corner in the wake of Zach's death. This school year, we reached 3300 youth despite the pandemic. These youth have learned how to reach out to each other, care for and advocate for their mental health, and be safe and caring for others. These youth now know about hotlines and resources. They understand stigma and how it plays a role in cloaking mental health. And most importantly, they know they are NOT alone. Next school year, we plan to reach at least 5,000 youth.

I always say that we can't change Zach's story, although I wish every June 13th that we could, through Kid in the Corner and our work with schools and communities, we can change how others perceive mental health, how others talk about it, and how others get help.

Thank you for joining our mission to shatter the stigma surrounding mental illness and support the kid in the corner, whoever that may be.

With love from Zachary's mom,

Francine Sumner

If you are struggling with suicidal thoughts, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-TALK (800-273-8225). If you are in a crisis, text "HOME" to 741741 to reach the Crisis TextTogether, we are making a difference.

If you or someone you know are struggling, please reach out for help. If you see someone you think might be struggling, have a conversation (it might just save a life).

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: Call 800-273-TALK (800-273-8225)

24/seven free and confidential support for people in distress, prevention, and crisis resources for you or your loved ones.

Crisis Text Line: Text "HOME" to 741741 from anywhere in the USA, anytime!



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