KANSAS CITY, Mo. – A family in the Northland is using their son’s recent suicide to raise awareness in hopes that it will prevent other teens from taking their lives.
Kurt and Lynn Wilson lost their son, 15-year-old Lance Wilson, on Sunday.
“He sent us a text at 11:20-ish that said ‘I love you,’” his mom said in an emotional interview with FOX4.
He was the couple’s only child, and they said he showed no signs that he was suicidal.
“I think maybe he had his problems inside, but he didn’t want to burden anybody,” his dad said. “I’m lost.”
Lance was a sophomore at Staley High School. He played football and sang in the choir. His parents described him as caring, someone who was always willing to lend a hand and appeared to love life.
“You would bond with him right away,” his dad said. “He was that kind of kid and he would do anything for you.”
His parents said there was nothing their son could’ve done or said that would have ever made them stop loving him.
“I would always talk to him and let him know, ‘You are our one and only, and I don’t know what I would do without you, so if you ever have a problem you need to come talk to us,’” his mom said.
On Tuesday, they held a vigil for him at Good Shephard Church United Methodist. But this was different.
There were no stories or sermons. Instead, it was about educating the young people who knew their son that their lives matter, that suicide is permanent, and it has a lasting effect on the people left behind.
“It’s not like it’s a car accident. It’s something so much worse because you always question, 'Did I do the right thing? Did I say the right things?” his mom said. “Everybody that you were connected to, why weren’t they good enough for you? That is the question they will always ask.”
Dr. Prakash Chandra, an adolescent psychiatrist with Truman Behavioral Health Medicine, said depression is often the number one cause for teen suicide, but it could also be related to internal conflicts.
“That teen might be going through a lot of stress, a lot of conflict which can be very overwhelming for that teen. But many times what happens is that teen tries to deal with it on its own and not show signs and symptoms,” Chandra said.
Although some people think talking about suicide might plant the idea, Chandra said it can have the opposite effect.
“Talking about it with someone who might be going through depression might feel like somebody cares for me, somebody is trying to get help for me,” Chandra said.
The Wilsons don’t know why Lance chose to end his life, but they have a message for parents.
“Let them know that you love them no matter what,” Lynn said. “We tried to do that every day, let him know that he was the best thing in our life.”
Many people who attended the vigil wore yellow for suicide awareness, at the request of Lance’s parents.
If you are having suicidal thoughts, we urge you to get help immediately.
Go to a hospital, call 911 or call the National Suicide Hotline at 1-800-SUICIDE (1-800-784-2433).
Click on the boxes below for our FOX 4 You Matter reports and other helpful phone numbers and resources.