Mom fights for more local mental health resources: "He was self-mutilating. And I missed it."

Saturday, May 4, 2019
News 12 at 11 O'Clock

AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) -- Tandra Williams had her fair share of dark days.

"I don't look like what I've been going through," Williams said. "I had some real low points with depression."

Behind her smile, she's battling demons.

"People think people just wake up and they choose to be depressed and stuff like that," Williams said. "Rich people commit suicide, rich people deal with depression. It doesn't discriminate."

It wasn't her own darkness that drove her to share her story. It was her 15-year-old's.

"This week my son ended up having a car wreck," Williams said. "In the process of him being in trauma, they noticed that he was cutting his arm up real bad. He was self-mutilating. And I missed it."

Her son told her that a few months ago, he had a missed call from a friend moments before she committed suicide. A few days later, another close friend committed suicide.

"He just wanted to go with them," Williams said. "He felt like he had let them down and I just explained to him that he can't carry that burden on his shoulder. There's nothing he could've done."

Between ages 15 to 34, suicide is the leading cause of death in Georgia. The state ranks 47 out of 50 for access to mental health care resources.

"Kids with mental health are going to become adults with mental health problems," Williams said. "If you can help them as a child, then by the time they become an adult, they can cope with it."

Tandra says mental health resources need to be more of a priority locally.

"It's okay for you to be dealing with mental health,' Williams said. "It's okay to have depression. It's not what you have, it's how you're dealing with it."

And she says you don't have to deal with it alone.