Mom who lost son to suicide asks others to 'speak up'

Posted at 4:48 PM, Oct 24, 2017
and last updated 2017-10-24 17:56:05-04

KANSAS CITY, Mo. - Teen suicide rates are on the rise and in recent weeks several were reported in the metro area. On Tuesday, one mother opened up after losing her son years ago. 

"We're not the poster family, poster child for suicide; we just weren't," said Becky McVey. 

McVey said her son Kurt McVey was your typical high school student. 

"He played football, he was in the band, and he was in the German club," said McVey. 

With school, sports and other outside activities, McVey believes it got to be too much. 

"We expect too much out of our kids. We expect them to be little adults and developmentally they're not. They're just big kids and I think as society, we've forgotten that," said McVey. 

A former teacher, McVey said she was trained to see the signs in her students that she didn’t recognize in her own son. 

"I wish I could say, yes look for this, look for this, look for this, but you may not see it."

In 2004, Kurt was a freshman at Lee’s Summit North High School when he took his own life. McVey said she was cooking dinner and her husband was watching TV at home when it happened.

"What happens to a kid when they're alone up in the room for 20 minutes, I don't know, you have a happy kid downstairs bouncing through the door and then 20 minutes later you find him dead," said McVey. 

Thirteen years later, McVey said she's trying to spread a message. 

"Every kid, whether you think about it or not, is at risk," said McVey. 

Following two more suicides at her son’s high school in recent weeks, McVey is asking people to speak up.

"We need to make sure that kids know that hey if you've got mental health issues, or you're depressed or you're just feeling down or whatever, talk to me about it," said McVey.

If you or anyone you know is in distress, the number for the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is 1-800-273-TALK or 1-800-273-8255.