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Parents hope heartbreaking loss of teen son to suicide will raise awareness of depression, isolation while schools are closed

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    BALTIMORE COUNTY, MD (WJZ) — A Baltimore County family is hoping to use their loss to raise awareness about teen depression and suicide as schools remain virtual due to COVID-19.

Michael Myronuk, Jr., was just 14 years old when he died by suicide last October.

“Michael junior was probably my favorite person,” his father, Michael Myronuk, Sr., said.

“He was a really really cool kid,” his mother, Heathyr Sidle, said.

Sidle recalled the moment she learned of her son’s death.

“He texted me and said, ‘This is why I killed myself.’ So I pulled over and I called his dad and I was like, ‘You need to go find Michael,’ and then it was too late,” she said.

When Sidle pulled up to Myronuk’s house, she said she just knew tragedy had struck.

“(I) had to break down the door and found him,” Myronuk said.

The teen’s parents said he struggled when schools closed their doors and shifted to virtual learning in March.

He later started high school at Dulaney High School without ever setting foot inside the building.

“The one thing that was lacking was being with other people his own age,” Sidle said.

While adolescent suicide during the pandemic can’t be conclusively linked to school closures, a report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said anxiety and depression in America have tripled in the past year.

“For our son and for a lot of kids across the country, this is just one more thing on top of the huge burden that we’ve placed on our children by keeping them socially isolated,” Sidle said.

Now, his parents are trying to shed light on teen suicide, fearing others could be teetering on the brink and feeling alone.

“This spiral is something that a lot of families are going through but nobody is talking about,” Myronuk said.

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline Hours: Available 24 hours. Languages: English, Spanish. Learn more 800-273-8255

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