May 7, 2010 started out as a normal day for my children and me. However, it turned out to be a day we would never forget.

Sitting in my room, my 16-year-old daughter and I were discussing the things that happened with her at school. We were laughing about the different antics that went on with her that day. As we laughed, she received a text message from her cousin that brought our world to a halt. I looked in her crestfallen face and I could clearly see the news she received wasn’t good. “Momma, Oh my God, Momma,” she said as tears gathered in her eyes.

“What is it? Talk to me, what is going on?” I yelled getting worried.

“Mom, they are saying DeAndre killed himself,” she said as tears streamed down her face. I screamed and told her to quit playing, but deep inside I knew she wasn’t.

At that moment everything stopped and all I thought about was how was I going to tell my son. As I searched for the words nothing would come. My heart was so heavy; my mind seemed to have shut down. I picked up the phone with shaky hands and called the one person I knew would help me find the right words to express to my son what had just happened. I called my father –in- law and through tears told him that DeAndre killed himself. He advised me to calm down and asked where my son where was. I informed him that he was at a neighbor’s house. I told my daughter to go get him. While she was gone I expressed to my father- in-law that I didn’t know how my son was going to handle the news of losing another friend, his best friend, especially since he had just lost two friends six months prior. My daughter came through the door with my son following her; I handed over the phone letting him know it was his grandfather. Taking the phone, my son thought my father-in-law was just checking in on him. It was as if everything went in slow motion. All of a sudden my son let out a gut wrenching scream I had never heard before. He dropped to the floor asking why, why did he do that, why did God do this, why, why, why was God taking all his friends? Who was he going to talk to? “Not Dee, please not Dee”, he sobbed. Still holding the phone I could hear my father- in- law telling me to hold him. I tried to embrace him, and reassure him that everything was going to be o.k., even though I wasn’t sure it would be.

DeAndre was 17 years-old and the fourth friend my son has lost to teen violence, but this time was different. DeAndre took his own life. My son stated that DeAndre was having a hard time dealing with the senseless murder of their mutual friend Demetrius who had been gunned down four months ago. While at a surprise birthday party held in Demetrius’ honor, Demetrius stepped on the porch to get some air and was shot. A kid he went to school with walked up to him and shot him in the stomach. He died in DeAndre’s arms. Knowing that DeAndre was having a hard time my son, also 17-years-old, had been talking to him, telling him they need to get their stuff together and make a change in their lives. I guess the pain was too deep because before day break on May 7, 2010 DeAndre took the gun he had kept at his home and shot himself. He later died at Vanderbilt Children’s Hospital.

My family and I are still trying to come to terms with what happened. It’s like there is a void that cannot be filled. My son is still grieving and trying to figure out why DheAndre killed himself when they were both dealing with the same loss. This has really tested my children’s faith, especially my nine –year- old. He wants to go by DeAndre’s grave everyday and keeps asking why did God let this happen.

I have asked myself countless times throughout the day why I didn’t see the signs. Was there something I could have said to have prevented this? DeAndre and my son never changed their behavior, they continued to do there usual things or maybe it was there and I just missed it.

My advice for teens that are contemplating suicide: please, please, get help. Talk to your friend, guidance counselor, or just be honest with your parents about what is going on in your mind because the hurt and pain you might be experiencing will not compare to the pain and despair your loved ones will feel if you take your own life. Parents ,friends ,or family members, if you suspect your loved ones might be contemplating suicide and you see any changes in them, please take the time to ask the hard questions even though it might make you feel uncomfortable. DeAndre would have never come to his grandmother or me to let us know he was truly affected by Demetrius’ death because he wouldn’t have wanted us to worry about him. Like most males they have this strong image to uphold. They never want to be considered weak. Parents talk to your daughters and especially talk to the males. Keep pressing them until they open up, and please listen to them because they are speaking, but we have to be sensitive enough to hear them. Check their Facebook and Myspace pages because right before DeAndre killed himself he left a message on MySpace saying he would not be here tomorrow and that he would be missed, but not forgotten and that he loved us and he will finally be with his brother Demetrius again.
If you are a teen that needs to talk to someone please contact the USA NATIONAL SUICIDE & CRISIS HOTLINE at 800-448-3000 or 800-784-2433. You can also go to  or

It wasn’t until DeAndre’s untimely death that I decided to look a little deeper into teen suicide. Just maybe if we would have looked beyond the surface DeAndre would still be with us.

Suicide is never the answer

Here are a few facts:
Suicide is the third leading cause of death among youths aged 15-24.

Young people attempt suicide at an alarmingly high rate: among 15-24 year olds, there is one suicide for every 100-200 attempts.

Suicide is the sixth leading cause of death among youths aged 5-14.

A youth suicide (aged 15-24) occurs every 100 minutes.

Young people can become emotionally distraught rather easily and thus are vulnerable to suicidal thoughts.

It is thus important for parents to try and pick up on any possible warning signs for suicide and to seek help for the suicidal youth as quickly as possible.

Listed below are a few of the problems that can potentially trigger suicidal thoughts in a young person:
• Death of a parent.

• Divorce of parents.

• Feeling like a “pawn” that is being used between feuding, divorced parents.

• Joining a new family with a step-parent and step-siblings.

• Breaking up with a boyfriend / girlfriend.

• Moving to a new community.

• Not feeling accepted by peers.

• Being ridiculed by classmates.

• Feeling misunderstood.

• Any experience perceived to be “humiliating.”

• Alcohol abuse.

• Drug abuse.
• Being bullied by classmates.

Retrieved from

Mikenda Early is 32 years old and a mother of three. She currently resides in Nashville, TN. She’s working on her first fiction novel while attending Nashville State  pursuing a degree in Nursing.

© 2010 – 2011, Shalena D.I.V.A. – Personal Branding| Content Marketing| Product Creation. All rights reserved.


  1. Shalenadiva on May 23, 2010 at 11:47 pm

    Mikenda, thank you for sharing such a sad story. It alarms me that our young people are taking their own lives. It may not make you feel better, but I don’t think anyone could have persuaded DeAndre any differently. He hid his depression well and made up his mind wel before he carried everything out. I can’t believ he left that MySpace note. I feel sorry for and pray for his mother and family. I also pray for you and your children’s healing.

    Thank you for using this experience to empower yourself and educate the rest of us.

    • Mikenda Early on May 25, 2010 at 5:31 pm


      I want to personally thank you for allowing me to share my story, you and so many others no how hard this was for me, my emotions were all over the place. I thank God for allowing us to connect because I needed a way to express my internal feelings and you provide the way. So once again Thank You.

  2. Lily on May 25, 2010 at 8:11 am

    Wow, powerful story. It’s heartbreaking. Adolescence is a really crucial time for our children. Maybe some good will come out of this, and it will encourage your son to turn his life around and so many others. It’s such a vicious cycle- violence begets violence. Anyway, well written story, and thank you for reminding me to pray for all my children and their minds.

    • ShalenaDiva on May 25, 2010 at 9:43 am

      Lily, I think you hit upon a major point. We have to pray for our childrens’ minds. It seems like although they are exposed to so much more than we were, they are not getting those life lessons that will give them the mental strength to resist negativity and low self esteem. I thank God that I had a strong spiritual foundation that I drew upon for strength during trying times. Thank you for visiting my blog. Please feel free to read the other articles and submit one of your own if you’d like.

      Be blessed!

    • Mikenda Early on May 25, 2010 at 5:28 pm

      Lily, you are so right about praying for there minds,because the devil is busy and all he needs is an opening.

  3. Mary Taylor on May 25, 2010 at 12:33 pm

    Thank You So Much Daughter For Sharing This Experience With Us. I’m Praying For You And The Grannies As Always. Be Encouraged And Continue To Trust Almighty God In All You Do.

    • Mikenda Early on May 25, 2010 at 5:27 pm

      thank you Mom I know you have nmy back..

  4. Theresa Cole on May 25, 2010 at 3:29 pm

    This is very sad and I’m praying for his family and friends. It’s hard enough dealing with a love ones death that was ill, vehicle accident, etc but I can’t imagine someone having to deal with the fact that their love one took their own life.

    Parents, take out time to look, listen and pray for your children – stop being so busy at work, church, with your running partners and minister to your children because if you don’t someone or something else will. Depression is a demon in itself and if a person doesn’t know how to call on Jesus it’s easy for the enemy to take control of their mind and paint all kind of pictures (lies) in thier minds. I’m really praying for our children because they have so much more to deal with than we did and it’s going to take us as parents, grandparents to have a relationship with Jesus Christ to bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord and teach them to know Jesus for themselves.

    Thank you for sharing. Blessings Overflowing in your life!!

    • Mikenda Early on May 25, 2010 at 5:26 pm

      Thanks Auntie for taking time out of your schedule to read my article. I just thank God for blessing me with a praying family because you know we as a team are going to interceed for my son, so I will not be on the parent side.

  5. Elaine on May 25, 2010 at 4:06 pm


    Thanks for sharing this eye opening story. My god daughters friend who was 11 years old comitted suicide about 4 weeks ago. We have to talk to our children as well as other peoples children. I get all in my 14 year olds freinds business. These young people encounter so many things on the daily basis. We also have to pray for and with our children. Our children need to know that we are actively and publically interested in them. Also, parents pick and choose your battles with your children. Sometimes we as parents treat our children just like our parents treated us and truth be told it wasn’t always the right way. They handle us as their parents handled them. Again, thanks for sharing.

    I will pray for this young mans family as well as your family.

    EB White

    • Mikenda Early on May 25, 2010 at 5:22 pm

      Thank you for taking time out to read this story. I agree with you about picking and choosing my battles, I’m guilty of that sometimes. I will pray for you and your daughter let her know to continue to trust God in the hard times.

      Mikenda Early

  6. tyawanda on May 25, 2010 at 6:14 pm


    • Mikenda Early on May 25, 2010 at 8:03 pm

      thank you Tawanda fot taking time out to read it. It is so real and I just pray someone is reached threw all this..

  7. Geraldine on May 25, 2010 at 6:33 pm

    That is a very sad story, but you did a great job putting it out there for us to read and for our kids to read also. And to let them know, that they can come to us and talk about anything.
    Thank you

    • Mikenda Early on May 25, 2010 at 8:05 pm


      Thank you for reading it, please continue to pass the word that Suicide is not the answer..

  8. Frances Toney on May 25, 2010 at 11:30 pm

    Kay I read your poem and your article, and I want to let you know that I love you, you are sooo anointed and gifted. Your poem made me have a brief flashback but your article brought me to tears. I’m not tryin’ to justify anything or even be all holy holy but you and I know the real truth behind Deandre Suicide, he …was being tormented and was overtaken in a warfare not on earth. I pray for you all and I bind this warfare, torment, and burden from Tedarius. “T” has a testimony that is going to shake hell!!! I love you cousin!

  9. physician assistant on June 1, 2010 at 11:40 pm

    Great site. A lot of useful information here. I’m sending it to some friends!

  10. Karen Wilson via Facebook on May 18, 2011 at 1:30 pm

    The Bible says that they would b weaker yet wiser.

  11. via Facebook on May 18, 2011 at 1:30 pm

    I hear the meia stories and wonder how a student could actually kill themselves over being bullied. One student really believed another student when she said she’d kill him. He went home and hanged himself. I guess in today’s age, kids will make goodon their threats, but I’m just saying.

  12. Christine McCracken Payne via Facebook on May 18, 2011 at 1:31 pm

    They are more challenged than we ever were, U said it yourself, txt messages,facebook, myspace among other website for bullying.. in addition everyday school bullying etc… Things tend to spread faster via internet than school but when u get hit with combo.. that’s a disaster within it’s self!

  13. via Facebook on May 18, 2011 at 1:31 pm

    @Karen, it seems to be that way. These kids are wiser and smarter, but weak as dish water some of them. They are so easily led astray and influenced. It’s very sad.

  14. via Facebook on May 18, 2011 at 1:32 pm

    @Christne–that’s a great point.

  15. Christine McCracken Payne via Facebook on May 18, 2011 at 1:34 pm

    Than add what you said.. and them poor kids are beyond weak and bright as heck!

  16. Christine McCracken Payne via Facebook on May 18, 2011 at 1:35 pm

    i grew up street smart.. a lil too much but that’s the diff with these kids these days.. they think they know “life” but really they dont know the first thing about survival mode.. Then the bullying starts and u add the net to they’re caotic life and they seem to short circuit!

  17. via Facebook on May 18, 2011 at 1:36 pm

    @Christine–Do you think technology and television are ruining our kids?

  18. Christine McCracken Payne via Facebook on May 18, 2011 at 1:37 pm

    yup… i really do.. What happened to go outside and play?! No instead we as parents buy these lavish toys for them .. give them what we didnt have and they get hooked on technology! Im guilty first hand!

  19. Christine McCracken Payne via Facebook on May 18, 2011 at 1:39 pm

    My kids would rather be on a computer play games/fb or play their nintendo dsi’s or DS… so i have to limit their time frame.. If they get involved in the community and sports they are not as likely to get made fun of or bullied…

  20. Christine McCracken Payne via Facebook on May 18, 2011 at 1:40 pm

    oops i made a typo.. chatoic.. i s what i meant..

  21. via Facebook on May 18, 2011 at 1:41 pm

    @Christine– a lot of parents make this mistake. It’s like kids have no social or interpersonal skills and they are necessary. I also think there’s too much on tv–too much. And a lot of stupid stuff. I don’t care what anyone says about MTV’s 16 and Pregnant. It still glamorizes the subject. Those girls get paid big bucks per episode. There’ snothing fun or cute about being pregnant at 16. It’s hard raising a child. I hate that show. It doesn’t deter kids. It entrtains them. Then they splash the girls all over the magazines in the market. That crap ain’t cute/ What message does that send?

  22. Christine McCracken Payne via Facebook on May 18, 2011 at 1:43 pm

    I know right?!

  23. Patricia Holbert via Facebook on May 18, 2011 at 2:06 pm

    What are you programmed to do? Two words…television programming…ITS CALLED PROGRAMMING FOR A REASON. some weak monkies see…WEAK monkey do…they are copy cats! We also are a nation of chicken eaters…you ever raised chickens? The`ll eat anything. One chicken steals a cooked piece of spagetti from the mouth of one chicken and runs with it in his mouth…the other 50 chickens will run after him until one fast BUT chicken steals the spagetti..then it starts all over again…until one smart chicken quickly swollows the spagetti. Followers…> not enough great LEADERS! LOL!

  24. Aysha Edwards via Facebook on May 18, 2011 at 2:28 pm

    I don’t believe these kids are weaker I believe they have no outlet. They are less educated, lack faith in anything or anybody. They are frustrated & have no sense of direction because they are not being parented. Parenting is more than making & birthing babies. Unfortunately more than half of parents are unavailable to their kids because their so busy trying to fulfill their needs & neglect their children. Then the cycle continues.

  25. via Facebook on May 18, 2011 at 3:06 pm

    @Aysha– How can these kids have no ouotlets when more resources are available to them than ever before? I find that hard to believe.

  26. Aysha Edwards via Facebook on May 18, 2011 at 3:12 pm

    What outlets do you mean?

  27. Thabang Mokoene via Facebook on May 18, 2011 at 3:18 pm

    It is nt easy it luk sumtyms wen u hv real issues u jst dnt care abt wat is around u jst want de pain 2 stop en neva feel it again so dnt judge as long as u hv neva bn @ de crossroads dis kids needs us 2 listen i knw wat im talkin abt

  28. via Facebook on May 18, 2011 at 3:26 pm

    @Aysha– I mean programs for at risk youth, more open health clinics like Planned Parenthood that caters to educating young people, churches with outreach programs, school programs, basketball leagues, etc…

  29. Rochelle Bacon Henriene via Facebook on May 18, 2011 at 3:35 pm

    we tried the youth night at our church…no resoect from the street kids…not their kinda music…wassup…no real killn games…still wanted to cuss….UNBELIEVABLE….DONT KNOW IF THEY PACKN AND GANG RELATED…its terrible…half of em selln drugs….the good kids dont want to hang out with them…they eventually stopped youth night…sad for the ones who really wantd to come…ya know

  30. Aysha Edwards via Facebook on May 18, 2011 at 3:47 pm

    Parents are not making them go to these things, let alone know about them. Again when parents are trying to take care of their own needs they’re not looking for these outlets esp if they cost $. As a parent you have to stay on ur kids about being a part of something & being accountable & responsible but how many parents are accountable & responsible. The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.

  31. via Facebook on May 18, 2011 at 4:20 pm

    @Aysha–Very true. I find that some parents won’t take their kids even if they are FREE or low cost. SMH! But the resources are there.

  32. Aysha Edwards via Facebook on May 18, 2011 at 4:36 pm

    Yeah but unfortunately not utilized. Unfortunately the kids suffer as does society & the cycle continues.

  33. Rochelle Bacon Henriene via Facebook on May 18, 2011 at 4:40 pm

    IF A CHILD LIVES N UR HOME….AND U GET UP AND GO TO CHURCH ON SUNDAY MORN…THAT MEANS EVERYBODY GETS UP AND GOES TO CHURCH!!!!!!!!!….u aint workn u aint sleepn n…u wanna sleep n…find a park till i get back…but u got to get up and outta here when i do…bottom line….THEY NEED TO B HEARIN THE WORD WHEN U DO…im just sayn

  34. via Facebook on May 18, 2011 at 4:43 pm

    @rOCHELLE–gUNS AT YOUTH NIGHT? wow! unbelievable!

    • Rochelle on May 19, 2011 at 4:05 am

      girl…we didnt know…but u know these kids and they lil hang togethers….we just didnt know…but it was safer just cancel it rather than have a face off and someones child get hurt…[email protected]…girl…thats the problem…WE DONT HAVE E…NUFF OLE SKOOL RAISING….everybody n da house needs to b up and out to church on sunday morn…dang if imma be da only one going..then have to come and they still sleep…..aaawww heck nawwwww….and u aint got up and startd doin nuttin….nope…aint bout to happen…u wanna live here….U GOTTA GO…BOTTOM LINESee More

      • ShalenaD.I.V.A on May 19, 2011 at 4:07 am

        @Rochelle– now that’s old school for you. As for me and my house– we gone serve the lord–LOL! I love it! Brings back memories!

  35. Patricia on May 19, 2011 at 4:05 am

    10 hours ago ·

  36. Gabi on May 19, 2011 at 4:06 am

    I think its mainly exposure. Compare wot we were exposed to via media to these days. We only had radio..a few channels..n tv played only at certain times of the day. Communities kept to emselves n rly cared for each other. Even here..the bi…ggest mistake they made was to take God out of the country.. Wot is thr to replace God wth tht will suffice? We look for substitutions n tv talks to tht we cn live wth oursleves. Its our parent, our friend, our teacher, n in sm cases our spouse. Exposure. God in, God out.. Bad in, bad out.See More

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