Weslaco teen's death underscores need for suicide prevention

Guest book at family's home

Esmeralda Gonzalez is grieving the untimely death of her 16-year-old brother Raul Mirelez. The Weslaco High School student hanged himself last week shocking all who knew him as a very, happy enthusiastic young man who had everything going for him.

He was supposed to have to bury me not me bury him, said Esmerelda.Why did this happen when he was a very happy boy?

According to the Center for Disease Control, one of the leading causes of death among teenagers is suicide.

In fact, it's the third leading cause of death behind accidents and homicide of people age 15 to 24.

Esmeralda says sadly her brother is now part of that statistic and through her grief she finds strength to speak out to save another life.

"I'm a mother, said Esmeralda. I have a teenager and even though you see your kids being very happy, please pay attention to them because you really don't know what they are thinking.

Raul's loved ones are not only mourning his loss, they're unable to give their teenager a proper burial because of lack of resources, proving the profound affect suicide has on families.

The teens funeral services are being held in the same home where he took his own life.

"If they can help us with anything, said Esmeralda. Today, it's my family that's going through this pain, tomorrow it can be another family and if they need the same help we will be there.

Weslaco High School is doing their part to help the family.

They are taking up donations from the community while working on the morale of their students since this is the second suicide among their student body in a year.

There are organizations in the valley that offer free classes and workshops on recognizing the signs of teen suicide.

For more information about suicide prevention, call the South Texas Behavioral Health Center at 956-388-1300.