Clive, a parent who lost his son to suicide, encourages discussions about mental health

DES MOINES, Iowa — It has been four and a half years since Mary Neubauer lost her son Sergei to suicide.

“He was an incredibly bright and talented kid. He could sit down and draw anything in front of him,” Neubauer said. had a tumultuous and abusive childhood in Russia, and we knew it.

Since Neubauer understood Sergei’s background, she and her husband began advising their family almost immediately. Neubauer says Sergei has lived with severe depression, anxiety and survivor’s remorse since he was adopted.

“At times when Sergei struggled, he retreated. He was sleeping more than normal, and at the height of his attack, he was having anxiety attacks like the kind where he couldn’t breathe, and we had to go through breathing in a plastic bag situation with him,” Neubauer said. .

Mental health experts say people often avoid talking with those who have mental health issues, but experts say it’s best to sit down and have a conversation.

“If you knew someone with a diagnosis of cancer or heart disease or some other life-threatening condition, would you hesitate to say, ‘I heard about your diagnosis? ‘” said Peggy Huppert, executive director of the National Alliance on Mental Illness Iowa. “I’m so sorry. What can I do? The same applies to mental illness.

Neubauer now wears a bracelet in memory of his son. She hopes her story and her family’s pain will inspire people who struggle to speak up.

“Everyone in their life, everyone struggles sometimes, and please ask for help if you need it,” Neubauer said.

Anyone with mental health issues should contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-8255.

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