In memory of
Jared High
By Kaseyís mom- Stacy
Did you know that, according to the Utah State Health Department, suicide is the second leading cause of death in teens and it is the number one cause of death in males from the ages of 15 to 43 in our state? It is the second leading cause of death among college students in our country. People over 65 have a 50% higher suicide rate than the general population, with white males being most at risk. Twice as many females attempt killing themselves, but four times as many males succeed. These statistics were very surprising to me when I started researching the subject of suicide soon after our own son changed our lives forever by taking his own life.

Kasey was only 16 years old when he ended his own life last May, 2001. We were heart broken and shocked beyond belief. He told no one that he was feeling sad or that he was thinking of ending his own life. This is unusual because 80% of people contemplating suicide do tell someone.

Beginning with that very second in which we discovered what our son had done, the small- but- powerful three- lettered question, "Why?!", relentlessly echoing over and over in all of the minds of those that knew our son or heard about his death. Amazingly only 10 to 15% of all suicides leave a note behind and yes, he did leave us a very short note just saying "Donít blame anyone but me." which gave us little comfort.

Kasey was a good young man who never drank alcohol or used drugs. However many people will drink or use drugs in an attempt to end the pain they feel inside as a way of self medicating . There was no "sudden" change in our sonís personality or appearance, nor did he give any of his possessions away. He went to school every day and was often on the honor roll. He participated in the usual things that a normal teen would participate in during the last few days of his life. Saturday night he went bowling with a friend. Sunday, along with his family he visited his grandparents and went to church after which he accompanied a church leader to visit a homebound elderly lady. Monday he helped his family plant flowers for the city and went out for ice cream; he fertilized our lawn. But on Tuesday, after school and dinner, while the rest of the family was away, he ended his own life.

Approximately two months after our sonís death I started out on a quest, beginning with a prayer, asking for help in finding the big piece to this puzzle. I wanted to learn everything I could, hoping that I might somehow be able to wrap my brain around this thing called "suicide" and get some understanding of what could have possibly caused my son to want to die. I realized that something must of cause him unbearable pain for him to have considered such an option. Death is the end result in suicide, but what suicide is really all about is PAIN: unbearable pain and the desire of having an end to that pain!

It wasnít long after Iíd begun my research that I received the answer as to the big piece of this puzzle. It was when I began a search on the Internet that I found that "The #1 cause of suicide is untreated depression." Right away I found a site, -- -- that answered so many of the tortuous questions in my mind. Just reading the first paragraph brought me such comfort and understanding. It reads:

"Why do people kill themselves? Most of the time people who kill themselves are very sick with depression or one of the other types of depressive illnesses, which occur when the chemicals in a person's brain get out of balance or become disrupted in some way. Healthy people do not kill themselves. A person who has depression does not think like a typical person who is feeling good. Their illness prevents them from being able to look forward to anything. They can only think about now and have lost the ability to imagine into the future. Many times they don't realize they are suffering from a treatable illness and they feel they can't be helped. Seeking help may not even enter their mind. They do not think of the people around them, family or friends, because of their illness. They are consumed with emotional, and many times, physical pain that becomes unbearable. They don't see any way out. They feel hopeless and helpless. They don't want to die, but it's the only way they feel their pain will end. It is a non-rational choice. Getting depression is involuntary - no one asks for it, just like people don't ask to get cancer or diabetes. But, we do know that depression is a treatable illness. That people can feel good again!"Research has shown that a combination of antidepressant medication along with psychotherapy {talk therapy} is the quickest, most effective treatment.

There was a longer list of symptoms in the sites on depression compared to the short list that I had read on suicide and our son had many of these symptoms of depression. We just didnít know that someone who got up and went to school every day could be depressed enough to kill himself but we have since learned that there are many different types of depression. Some of the signs that our son had were subtle or occurred over a long period of time which had us assuming that he was just going through some teenage stages. Some of the bigger symptoms our son had over the past 2 or 3 years was that he was often negative, irritable and pessimistic and became more withdrawn socially.

When he past away he had some hard rock music playing with lyrics in the music that talked of life being too hard with too many rules and suggested "ending it all". As Iíve talked to other parents of teen suicides and talked with the police department Iíve learn that it is common for teens to have this kind of music playing or in their possession when they end their own lives. Hard Rock music has become worse over the years. We did not know that our son was buying this kind of music, so I would suggest to parents to check out the kind of music their teens are listen to. The words my shock you. Talk to your teens about how powerful music can be for good or bad.

Another symptom is that there is quite a bit of depression in my family line and some suicides. Along the same family line, there was some postpartum depression and alcoholism, and a great- grandfather and an uncle that completed suicide.

Other signs of depression are: Previous suicides attempts, feeling angry most of the time, rebellious, tired {this is one that teens have complained a lot about to me, they have a hard time sleeping at night or they want to sleep all the time}, inability to concentrate, change in personality, giving away possessions, lack of self esteem, change in eating patterns {weight change or eating disorder},drawings or music with death themes, sexual promiscuity, physical pain {such as; headaches, stomachaches or backaches}, unusual sadness/discouragement/ loneliness, hostile or reckless behavior, neglect of personal appearance, major loss {of loved one, home, loss through divorce, trauma, ending of a romance}, running away from home or truancy from school, perfectionism, restlessness, anxiety/stress, failing grades, addictions - pornography, feeling unsafe at home or school {being bullied}. Ask yourself if you or your loved one have any of these symptoms.

Since our son passing, Iíve wanted to share the things that Iíve learned, hoping that it will be helpful to someone else in preventing this from happening to other families. Losing a loved one to suicide is incomprehensible to those who have never experienced it! I have recently visited Kasey's High school, (with the help of the PTA), and also the Jr. High school talking to the students about depression, suicide and the prevention of suicide. We brought the Yellow Ribbon Suicide Prevention Program to these schools. The schools staff, councilors, seminary teachers, and student leaders all wore yellow ribbons indicating that they are people who care about the students and they are people that students can come to if they ever need to talk to someone or ask for help. The theme of the Yellow Ribbon Program is "Its OK to ask -4- help!" If our son would of asked for help he probably would still be here.

We handed out Yellow Ribbon cards so that if ever students feel suicidal and donít have the words to tell someone all they have to do is take this card to a parent, counselor, teacher, clergy, doctor or mature friend or just say: "I need to use my yellow ribbon". On the other side of this card it tells the person receiving it what to do; #1. Stay with the person {99% of all suicides occur when the person is alone!} #2. Listen, really listen and take them seriously! #3. Get or call help immediately! There is a hope line on the card if no other help is available. It is 1-800-784-2433. If the person refuses to go with you to get help or is aditated you may have to call 911. A police officer will come and take the person to the hospital, where there is always a psychiatrist on duty 24 hours a day and this will not go on the persons criminal record.

Parents please listen to your children if they ask for help or tell you that they have some of these symptoms. Iíve found that teens either wonít talk about their depression at all because they fear they might be judged or not taken seriously, or they talk about how awful they feel all of the time, desperate for help, but family and friends think that they just want attention. What they really want and need is someone to help them find the help they need to get out of this pain that they are living with every day.

The road which ends in suicide is usually a very long one. The process doesnít happen over night. Any of the organs in our body can become ill, such as our heart, lungs, kidneys, liver etc. and of course we would seek medical attention. Our brain is just another organ that can become ill and may need medication and therapy to help it heal. Depression is the most common illness in all of medicine.

For more information on Kaseyís story go to For the Love of Kasey
To visit Kasey's Memorial page go to
To email Kasey's mom, Stacy, go to Stacy (Kasey's mom)

All written materials on are copyrighted - All rights reserved - Permission must be granted by Kasey's mom to copy any of her written material.

About Suicide

"Hold my hand, give me hugs, share my tears, and smiles, me as I heal."

  • For Survivors of Suicide call  -  1-800-646-7322
  • The Hope Line Network - 1800 SUICIDE (784-2433)
  • If thinking of suicide call: 1-800-999-9999 NOW or call Samaritan's Suicide Hotline at 212-673-3000 or look up a local phone number in Suicide Hotlines and  PLEASE CALL NOW!
  • Get a free e-book, Suicide, The Forever Decision, by Paul Quinett, Ph.D.  Go to to download.


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