"When you've finally been listened to, that's when you become real to the world, that's when you grow."
- James, Brave Faces Portrait Gallery


Portrait on the bridge

Sam Hewitt - Brave Faces Portrait Gallery

“I’m a 15-year-old student at Enterprise High, I love to sing, and I’ve lived in Redding my whole life. My favorite thing to do is to hang out with my friends, but in the past three years I have lost three of them to suicide and accidents. Before I got help, there were times I couldn’t see the future ahead and just didn’t want to be alive anymore. 

I want to advise teens that if your friend tells you he or she is thinking about suicide, self-harming or being abused in a relationship, tell an adult even if they don’t want you to. You could save their life if you tell someone. Even if they hate you afterward, you can remember you saved that person. They may not want to be alive now, but sometime in the future they will thank you. Things do get better. I know this from what I’ve been through.”


“When I was in eighth grade at Parsons Junior High, Josh was my best friend, and he was the happiest person you’d ever meet. He smiled 24-7, and I never thought he didn’t love his life. But during spring break, Josh died by suicide, and the effect was crazy. One day everyone at school would be fighting, and the next they would be crying and leaving to go home. People lost friends and just became individuals."


"I couldn’t finish a day of school for like a month. I had to go home or I had to go to mental health or doctor appointments to get medication. A counselor came in, but she made things worse because she was describing details about how Josh died and what he did. We didn’t need to hear that. Some kids needed to see a counselor. Some needed a teacher to talk to them or just to give them a hug because they didn’t have someone in their lives to do that for them.” 
 

Listen to Sam talk more about the impact of Josh's death on her school.


“After Josh passed away, I couldn’t find a reason to live, to breath or to talk to anyone. I felt it wasn’t worth living without him because he made the world a better place. The doctor appointments were overwhelming, and they made me feel worse because they made me feel like something was wrong with me. I was sent to a mental hospital for a week. It was hard but I was surrounded by people who understood what I was going through, and I formed relationships with them."  

Listen to Sam talk about her friendship with Josh and the impact of his death.





"Things started getting better when I met my counselor, Amy, at the Redding Rancheria Clinic. She really listens to you and asks questions to try to understand what’s going on inside your head. She’s helped me through a lot. She helped me when my friend Mark was killed when he was hit by a car and when my friend Orion died from an asthma attack. It was crazy because they were Josh’s friends too.” 

Listen to Sam talk about what has helped her through tough times and loss.


“Reading and writing really help me too because if I write down my thoughts and organize them, they’re not just sitting there  all scrambled in my brain. I also have been singing for my entire life, and it helps take my mind off things. I love performing songs that are about how to be strong and have important meaning to me. When I get to perform, I feel important because I’m bringing other people joy."


I want to help people and leave a mark on their lives in a good way whether it’s through telling my story or being a special education teacher in the future. I want people to know that they’re not alone. People all over the world get depressed, self-harm or have eating disorders. If you’re feeling this way, telling someone is the best thing you can do. If you don’t have anyone to talk to, you can talk to me, and I will do my best to listen and help.”

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