In the U.S., about 1 in 5 teens and young adults will experience mental illness at some point in their lives.
After going through a tough break up, 21-year-old Greg Whitfield spiraled into depression.
“He had a simple girlfriend breakup, and now looking back, he was depressed. He was crying one day, laughing with his friends the next,” Greg’s mother, Laura Whitfield, said.
“He hid it very well," Chuck Whitfield added.
On what seemed like an ordinary day, Greg’s depression got worse.
“That morning, he got up and was messing around before going to work. He was outside playing with the dog and joking around with my daughter's boyfriend, and then everybody went to work. We thought he went to work, but he didn’t show up," Laura said.
Later that morning, Laura got a call saying there was a disturbing text from Greg.
“I remember zooming down Central Expressway. I was probably going 90 miles per hour on the phone trying to call him [husband] and trying to call my daughter," Laura Whitfield told NewsFix. "I remember turning the corner into our subdivision and just hoping there wasn’t a police car on our street. And then I pulled in front of our house and our daughter’s fiancé was on the front porch talking to a police officer."
Greg’s family started to search for their son.
"My dad said he was going to drive around and look for Greg. I remember he was gone for a while, and I heard sirens. And I remember watching my dad, my elderly Dad, get out of his car and run up the front lawn. And that’s when he said, 'They found Greg. He shot himself, but he’s still alive.”
The Whitfields raced to the hospital.
Greg died the next day.
“You know, if he was sitting here today, he’d say he knew he made a mistake,” Laura said.
“I think if he realized how much pain he caused, that he wouldn’t do that," Chuck said. "I think a message that I would say to anyone thinking of that is, 'You may think you’re ending your pain, but you’re not. You’re passing your pain on and passing it on 10 fold.”