Silently slipping away None
Suicide is the SECOND leading cause of death among Maine youth.
Aside from motor vehicle accidents, suicide is the leading cause of death among people aged 10-24 in Maine. Suicide claims more lives of young people than cancer, heart disease, AIDS, birth defects, stroke, pneumonia and influenza, and chronic lung disease combined. (Maine DHHS)
Dont'e Izzo was 15-years-old when he took his own life on March 6, 2017. His mother found him in the basement of their home in Bangor after he did not show up to class at Bangor High School that morning.
"People say in time it will get softer,” Don'te's mother, Kelly Gallagher-Izzo, said. “We'll never heal."
Overwhelmed with grief and searching for answers, she looked through his phone. What she found was devastating.
"You can't go wrong with suicide," one message read. "It solves everything."
"If I kill myself and God is real then it was already planned that I would," Dont'e wrote.
"He said he didn't feel athletic enough. He didn't feel smart enough. He didn't feel good looking enough," Gallagher-Izzo said.
Gallagher-Izzo and her husband wanted some accountability for the loss of their son. After going to the school, police and the Attorney General's Office, they found there was nothing that could be done legalling.
Bangor Police Department told NEWS CENTER in a statement:
This is truly a heartbreaking situation that no parent should ever have to face. It is however not a criminal matter and there is no violation of law.
Bangor Public Schools said in part:
To lose a student to suicide is a tragedy for the family and a loss that is felt by the entire school community. Students and staff learn about recognizing and responding to warning signs and risk factors.
"They have posters up on the wall. My son must have walked by those a hundred times a day," Gallagher-Izzo said.
The Izzo sold their home and Bangor and have moved out of state, but they now hopes his death can raise awareness for other parents.
"Not only is my son's life gone. Our life is finished too," she said.
She said no parent should have to endure the pain that they are.
"There's a problem. There's a serious problem and nobody wants to address it," she said. "And as a society we are missing the mark big time."
Suicide Prevention Awareness Month
September is Suicide Prevention Awareness Month. NEWS CENTER is working with NAMI Maine to educate Mainers about this issue. Mental health experts will be with us for a live Q&A on Facebook during on our 6 o'clock broadcast Thursday. Through our coverage, we hope to help moms, dads, aunts and uncles understand what kids are facing, and what they can do to help support them. Learn More
Facts & Figures
The reality of suicide is apparent when you take a look at the staggering statistics. Across the country and here in Maine, suicide among young people is reaching epidemic proportions. But the more we know, the more we can do to prevent it.
You're Not Alone
There is help. If you or someone you know is having thoughts of suicide, do not hesitate to call Maine Crisis Hotline at 1-800-568-1112 or reach out to the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline.