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Grieving Omaha family pleads for more suicide prevention measures

OMAHA, Neb. (WOWT) – Surviving a child is one of the worst experiences a parent can have, and now an Omaha family must go on without their beloved 20-year-old Gracie Jaimes.

This family is not alone. Thousands of people across the country each year mourn the loss of loved ones who die by suicide.

Gracie’s body was recently found and identified after jumping off the Bob Kerrey pedestrian bridge. She left behind two young boys and her death came as a surprise to her loved ones.

“She was always happy. She loved her children. She loved my girls,” her aunt, Erika Martinez, said.

Her uncle remembered her the same way: “She was always happy, happy, smiling.”

On Sunday, the family held a memorial to celebrate Gracie’s life, a banquet hall of friends and family, living in remembrance of their memories of her. Laced in the fabric of their unity is regret that it could have been avoided. Experts say suicidal thoughts and behaviors can be reduced with proper mental health support and treatment.

“It breaks my heart that she didn’t come to see me,” her aunt said.

Her best friend and her children’s godmother also expressed regret.

“I wish she had called me. She called me that morning and I wish I had stayed on the phone,” Justine Pinkins said.

Gracie’s family is not alone. In Nebraska, death by suicide is the second leading cause of death among young people aged 10 to 24.

There are several reasons for this, according to Nebraska Medicine’s psychiatric emergency services manager.

“Our brain has not yet finished developing at this age. And I think there’s a lot of pressure on our young people who maybe weren’t the same as you or certainly not the same as me, where there’s a lot of influence from outside,” said Jennifer Sparrock, Licensed Clinician. social worker.

Grieving, one of Gracie’s brothers said he returned to the bridge and thought about doing the same. That’s why her family, especially Gracie’s mother, hopes that some restrictions will be added to the bridge, such as safety nets or higher barriers.

Sparrock, who also serves on the board of directors of the Nebraska chapter of the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. And she supports efforts that help restrict or deter suicide attempts.

“We know they work. In the communities where they’ve done this, they’ve seen a reduction in suicide attempts and people dying because of these kinds of restrictions in place,” Sparrock said.

More help on the way

A suicide prevention measure launched this week is 988. Like 911, it is an easy number to remember for mental health services. It replaces the current Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-8255. 988 callers are directed to trained Omaha-based responders.

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