Twitter, Facebook, Snapchat: Social media is a part of everyday life for our teens.
But a local mom who lost two children to suicide is asking parents to know what your kids are doing on social media and more importantly to talk about it.
She told Action News Jax’s Dawn Lopez her son might be here today had she seen his open cries for help.
Dawn Lopez: "How did you learn what your son was going through?”
Stephanie: “I never did--I still don't know what my son was going though."
He couldn't hide his baby face, but 14-year old Wille McGruder did hide his pain.
Most of his pictures posted on Facebook & Instagram, show a happy, bubbly middle schooler. All of them, except his last.
Stephanie shared her youngest son's final social media post, showing him with a gun pointed to his head and the caption, “Ready to see my brother when I die, ready to go see my brother."
Stephanie believes it was a cry for help. The very next day, her son waited for her and her husband to arrive home.
“As soon as we turned our back to go look back in the bedroom, we heard 'pow!’" Stephanie said.
To this day, this mom regrets not having seen the post and wonders why those who did choose not to speak up.
"It's after they die, that's when everyone wants to come and tell me, showing me pictures. I don't want to see that now! Ya'll should’ve talked to him before that happened, there's nothing I can do now," Stephanie said.
We searched state records and found last year alone, 7 young people between the ages of 11 and 19 committed suicide in Clay and St. Johns counties, 13 in Duval County, one of the highest numbers on the chart.
Clinical psychologist Dr. Lynn Wadleton said don't protect your child's privacy. Know what social media your child uses and watch their posts. It may give you more insight into your child’s life, then they do.
“A lot of time, young people either are selfish and not paying attention to other people, or at worst, encouraging and being curious,” Wadleton said.
With support of her sister, Stephanie is sharing her heartache with us, hoping it can save another parent from this pain.
"When it start getting dark come in the house, I tried to protect him from the streets, not knowing I needed to protect him from himself," Stephanie said.
Wadelton said it's important for parents to let their children know, feeling down or lonely is OK, but there is a time when you have to get treatment and support so you can get through the rough times we all face.
Cox Media Group