Suicide and Depression: The Darkness We Do Not See

From 1996 to 2005, America was fixated with Ray Romano’s fictional family on the show Everybody Loves Raymond. We tuned in weekly enjoying the adventures of what America feels is a ‘regular’ American family and was invested in the lives of his fictional kids that included twin boys and older daughter who were siblings in real life. As with any hit show – America felt a close connection with the cast of the show and was equally devastated when Sawyer Sweeten, one of the twins, committed suicide at the tender age of 19 in 2015.

Fans of the show were shocked by his untimely passing but those closest to him were devastated not knowing the reason why a young boy filled with potential would choose to end his life. His older sister, Madylin, who was also on the show said in a statement, “We beg of you to reach out to the ones you love. Let them have no doubt of what they mean to you.”

Sawyer was described by family and friends, including Ray Romano, as someone who was exceptionally bright and someone who always had a lot of positive energy. Just like most teenagers struggling with depression, Sawyer hid the darkness in his life up until that fateful day.

A cousin of his, Jackilyn Stines, mentioned however that Sawyer’s family had a history of depression and Sawyer was struggling with it as well at the time of his death.

This could be the reason why his sister, Madylin, urged everyone to check up on their loved ones no matter how strong they seemed to be.

In this study, it is said that 9.6% of Americans ages 18 to 25 have had major depression in the most recent year. Teen suicides attempts also increased by 23 percent while the number of 13 to 18 years old who committed suicide jumped to 31 percent.

This can be quite an alarming number that will easily alert anyone but the real question is, “As a parent, guardian, friend, or teacher, how do I see it in others?”

It all starts with reaching out. More than a list of things to do but what is important is to reach out. Ask your friends how they really are. Take time away from the screen and crawl into your loved one’s space – ask tough questions, do not be intimidated by their silence. Make them feel loved. Sometimes, helping someone out of their own darkness does not come in drastic steps but in little acts of love.

The important thing is to let them feel that they are not alone and once they allow you into their corner then you are able to win together.

What are the ways that you can reach out to your loved ones today?

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