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Monday April 22, 2024

Woman's tragic loss of her son inspires support network for suicide survivors

Esther discovered solace at Hirsh Mental Health Center in Los Angeles, where she connects with others who experienced similar loss

By Web Desk
May 21, 2023
Esther Ybarra-Bryant lost her 13-year-old son Nathan when he decided to end his life. nbclosangeles.com
Esther Ybarra-Bryant lost her 13-year-old son Nathan when he decided to end his life. nbclosangeles.com

Esther Ybarra-Bryant, who lost her son to suicide, found solace and support at the Hirsh Mental Health Center in Los Angeles and became a volunteer there to help other parents. 

Esther tragically lost her son Nathan 25 years ago. She discovered solace and support at the Hirsh Mental Health Center in Los Angeles, where she connected with others who had experienced similar loss. Motivated by her own healing journey, Ybarra-Bryant became a volunteer at the center, offering assistance to other parents and aiming to prevent the heartbreak caused by suicide. 

Although her son is no longer with her, Ybarra-Bryant finds solace in the belief that he is the brightest star, symbolized by the shining stars she sees every night.

According to the US Centers for Disease Control (CDC), 45% of gay, lesbian, and bisexual youth have contemplated suicide, compared to 15% of heterosexual teens. However, resources are available to prevent further tragedies and ensure that this vulnerable community does not suffer in silence. The 988 Crisis Line, a long-standing helpline, recently adopted the easy-to-remember number to provide immediate assistance to individuals in crisis, experiencing suicidal thoughts, or seeking help for others. 

Karla Centeno, the bilingual coordinator for the 988 Crisis Line, emphasizes the importance of open communication, urging individuals to express their struggles to reduce the risk of suicide.

Many calls to helplines like the 988 Crisis Line come from LGBTQ youth who face various challenges, including depression, isolation, and peer problems at school. These difficulties are exacerbated by bullying in educational settings and social networks. Franklin Romero of the Los Angeles County Department of Mental Health clarifies that being LGBTQ itself does not put individuals at risk but rather the environmental factors such as family, school, peers, and community. 

To address the unique pressures faced by LGBTQ youth, the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) has employed specialized counselors for the past two years. These professionals are available 24/7, ensuring that any child in the community can directly access trained support and receive appropriate referrals.

Experts stress the importance of dispelling myths surrounding suicide, such as the misconception that discussing suicide increases the likelihood of suicidal thoughts. On the contrary, open dialogue about the issue can help reduce the risk, which is the primary goal of mental health specialists. 

Regardless of statistics, every death by suicide represents an immense loss that could have been prevented. It is crucial to raise awareness, provide resources, and foster a supportive environment to ensure that individuals struggling with suicidal thoughts receive the help they need.