BATAVIA – Blythe Miller said she talks to others about the death of her daughter, Quincee Ariel Barnes-Miller, because she hopes to do what she can to get rid of a stigma.
Miller said she is not ashamed to say Quincee died because of suicide during her sophomore year of high school. She will join others Tuesday at Batavia High School in hopes of raising awareness and helping others who might be in need.
“If we can get rid of the stigma, which is only there because society puts it there, then I think we can help people’s lives,” she said. “I’m not ashamed of how my daughter died. I’m not embarrassed of her. I talk about it freely.”
The Suicide Awareness Community Assembly is set for 7 p.m. Tuesday at the main gym at the high school, which is at 1201 Main St., Batavia. There also will be an in-school assembly Monday for students. Among those who will appear with Miller will be Donna Wagner, whose son, Dylan, committed suicide during his freshman year. Dylan and Quincee were friends who were part of the Class of 2013. Also at the event will be Batavia High School student Rachel Hathaway. The event is put on by the school’s Future Educators Association.
Wagner said she had no indication Dylan was depressed.
“I wouldn’t have described him as depressed or suicidal,” she said.
She said he told his friends, but they wouldn’t tell others. Part of her message to youths is that it would not be wrong to tell adults when they acquire such knowledge.
“They felt like they needed to keep it in confidence and be a good friend and not say anything,” said Wagner, who added that “kids shouldn’t be worried about telling a parent or a teacher … and give them that chance to get help.”
Miller said she and Wagner have heard from others who have thanked them for alerting them to issues they otherwise might not have noticed. Miller said some have thanked her for helping them realize their children needed help and “saving their child’s life.”
“If you have cancer or you have asthma, you go to the doctor to get treatment for those things … why would we be ashamed of saying they were depressed?” Miller said.