It's hard to think about what would push a teen to commit suicide, but it's something a lot of parents in Leander ISD are considering. Since the beginning of this school year, at least five students in the district have committed suicide.
The Centers for Disease control says suicide is the third leading cause of death among young people ages 10 to 24 and parents are looking for a solution.
One Cedar Park parent who suffered the ultimate loss has some suggestions.
Don Pearce buried his 12-year-old son, Mitchel, this week. He's sharing his story to make sure it doesn't become someone else's reality.
"We'll never forget all the great things about him," Pearce said. "All the positive attributes that he brought to this world."
Two weeks ago Mitchel took his own life. No one saw it coming, but Pearce says his strong faith gives him hope that his son is in a better place. Pearce and his fiancé, Sara Lucas, don't want to think about the one tragic decision Mitchel made to take his life. Instead, they're remembering a bright young mind who had a love for Rubik's Cubes.
"That was his latest obsession," Pearce said.
Mitchell had a YouTube page he created to show off his collection.
"He had probably 35, 40 of them," Pearce said. "He was just constantly learning new algorithms. He could solve the simple three by three in as little as 14 seconds."
Pearce said his son's other joy in life was the Cedar Park Middle School band.
"He played the euphonium," Pearce said.
"They're very much a family and that's the sense that we got from all the kids," Lucas said.
Lucas said the band family has really been hurting the last couple of weeks.
"It just breaks my heart to think about them trying to process this at this age," Lucas said.
"We as adults don't know how to process this," Pearce said.
Pearce keeps questioning how Mitchel's life could have been saved.
It's hard for him to not blame the divorce he went through a few years ago.
"He wanted the family unit back," Pearce said. "The relationship between her and I was not what it needed to be."
The feelings Mitchel was experiencing weren't really talked about.
"I didn't want to upset him," Pearce said. "I didn't want to feel like I was prying. The biggest thing I'd do differently is to talk more."
As they continue to grieve, Pearce and Lucas are learning communication is the key to healing and it's with that key that you can open a door to a place where you're not alone.
"Always look for the door out because there's going to be one," Pearce said.
Pearce and Lucas believe having just one helping hand who listens can make all the difference. It's a difference they hope others will make after hearing their story.
If you or anyone you know needs help, please reach out to the Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255.
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