Having lost their 16-year-old daughter to suicide just as her senior year of high school was about to begin, a Central Florida couple is raising awareness about juvenile depression.
Athlete McKenna Brown, 16, aspired to play women’s hockey for the University of South Florida. Before tragically killing herself on August 7, she had just begun her final year at Tarpon Springs’ East Lake High School.
She committed a few errors. Her father Hunter spoke to FOX 13 in Tampa Bay about how it resulted in some physical, sexual, and emotional abuse. “She was used as a pawn. She was abused. Her best friend turned on her.
Her parents claim that even though she had been subjected to cyberbullying and toxic friendships throughout her adolescence, playing hockey had given her a purpose.
But while they mourn, Cheryl and Hunter Brown are also spreading awareness. Not only do they encourage suicidal people to speak up, but they are also holding parents of other children involved accountable.
“If you’re aware of something that’s going on in your kid’s life that’s affecting another kid, you got to say something,” Cheryl emphasized. “You can’t just not say something. That’s not OK and that could’ve prevented this.”
McKenna’s parents are focusing on the value of kindness and empathy the most.
Reach out to someone you notice who is being shunned, is alone themselves, or simply needs a little encouragement, Hunter advised.