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Texan starts suicide prevention group after sister’s death

December 19, 2018

ODESSA, Texas (AP) — After her sister committed suicide three years ago, Odessa High School junior Mayely Carrasco decided to turn the tragedy into a positive.

The Odessa American reports she formed a suicide prevention group that meets once a week.

Carrasco went to Student Assistance Services Counselor Magaliy Navarrete with the idea.

“She was like, ‘Oh, let’s do it,’ so we had to ask permission to let it go through, but they did allow it. I don’t really think it was that difficult,” said Carrasco, who is 16.

The largest group of students that has met was 10, but Navarrete said they have probably had 50 different students because some would attend, but not return. But knowing it was there was a comfort for youngsters.

″. I think just them knowing that somebody else had the courage to have a group and talk about it, I think that in itself felt like there was a camaraderie in knowing that I’m not alone in my struggle,” Navarrete said.

This past May, the State Board of Education honored 15 public school students who had demonstrated acts of kindness and compassion with the 2018 Student Heroes Award, including Carrasco. Award recipients got a plaque and certificate.

Carrasco said her sister, Yesenia Carrasco, committed suicide three years ago.

“She was like our mom. She was the person I would run to for everything, so it was hard,” Carrasco said.

Yesenia didn’t leave a note, so Carrasco doesn’t know why she took her own life.

Carrasco said she would sit in her sister’s room and wonder what was going through her head and why she would leave her family.

″. She had a lot of arguments with her boyfriend, and that day, she had an argument with my mom so maybe she felt like she had enough of it or something,” Carrasco said. “Now I’ve accepted the fact that she was gone. I would just deny, it deny, deny it. Now I accept it.”

From the prevention group, Carrasco said she’s learned reasons students think about committing suicide are arguments, or feeling alone.

“They just close up and they stick to themselves and they just carry it on,” she said.

Those in the group range from freshmen to seniors. Carrasco said she wanted to extend it to younger people, as well, because she has a little brother and he doesn’t like to talk about it.

Starting the suicide prevention group has helped Carrasco a lot. When it first started, she was nervous and scared but people began thanking her for having the group, so she felt better about it.

“I had anxiety and depression. When the group started, it would help me talk more about it. I really wasn’t to myself any more about it,” she said.

She likes knowing that she’s helping others.

“I want them to know that it hurts. It really does hurt and that’s what I tell everybody. Think about how you’re going to leave your parents hurting and your siblings and stuff because that’s a horrible thing to do. I don’t want nobody to feel that, especially not knowing why,” Carrasco said.

About a month ago, Carrasco had a baby girl.

“When I feel like just going down and just being depressed and stuff, I look at her and I’m just like, ‘No. I have a baby. I have to be there for her and I have to be stable.’ She’s like my happiness. She’s my pride and joy. I’m always happy around her. As long as I have her, I’m happy,” Carrasco said.

She added that she plans to be an example for her daughter.

“What I tell everybody is when she gets older and feels like giving up on school, I have a demonstration to tell her. I was 16, pregnant, and went through a lot of stuff and I still finished school and still took care of you. So that’s my goal right now: to walk the stage,” Carrasco said.

She said she has received support from Navarrete and the Teen Parent Related Services program at Ector County Independent School District.

When she won the state award Carrasco said she went running to Navarrete, who nominated her.

“I was so happy just to know I was picked out of all those students,” she said.

Navarrete said the students seem to benefit more from talking to someone their own age vs. a counselor.

“I think . her voice is so much more powerful. It’s her story and it’s a hard story to share, but she’s brave enough that she wanted to do it and I think it was a really good healing tool for her. I think that’s why it was well received,” Navarrete said.

Carrasco said teenagers like going to their friends for advice and help.

“We really don’t like to go to adults. ... That’s how we are. I think coming from someone our age, someone so young they’ll pay more attention to,” Carrasco said.

The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline may be reached at 800-273-8255.

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Information from: Odessa American, http://www.oaoa.com

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