Sometimes, it is not until suicide hits home that you realize just how important it is to spread awareness about it. By noticing the toll it is taking on your family, you do not want to see other families suffer. A California family who lost their son to suicide decides to channel their grief into erasing the stigma of suicide and creating a nonprofit that raises awareness.

Zachary Nimno

Zachary was a high school freshman in Pleasanton, California who loved video games, sports, and fishing. He worked hard to hide his symptoms of anxiety and depression from those close to him. His friends saw that he was withdrawing from life but did not know how to deal with it. Even though Zachary was an athlete his whole life, he gave up sports and spent hours in his room playing video games. When his parents noticed he was changing, Zachary was sent to a therapist who put him on Prozac. Even with his parent’s efforts, Zachary was still ashamed of his mental health issues. On October 2018, 14 year-old Zachary took his own life.

Z-Cares Foundation

Zachary’s father, Steve, felt that his son was suffering in silence and that kids need an advocate to show them that they are not alone. Zachary’s parents and sister decided to launch the Z-Cares Foundation to erase the stigma attached to social anxiety disorders to avoid children feeling isolated. The foundation emphasizes on speaking out and launched a series of community screenings of a documentary called “Angst.” This documentary is about teenage anxiety with teens and therapists talking about their experiences. Steve has said that kids have reached out to him that they wished the conversations they saw in the documentary they could have with their own parents, showing positive results. 

Why Children Should Feel Less Ashamed of Mental Health Diagnosis

It is important for children to know that millions of others their age are going through anxiety and depression. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 4.4 million children are suffering from anxiety and 1.9 million are suffering from depression all from the ages of 3-17 years-old. With millions of children going through this, your son or daughter should feel comfortable addressing these issues and getting treatment. If you are experiencing suicidal thoughts, please call 1-800-273-8255 for the National Suicide Hotline or 1-800-662-4357 for the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.

At Alta Loma Transformational Living, you will meet knowledgeable, compassionate professionals that understand addiction in all its forms.  Alta Loma uses an integrative and holistic approach to treat addiction and mental health issues. No treatment is one-size-fits-all, where you will have a team of experts prepared to create your customized treatment plan.  We offer care for your mind, body, and spirit, so that you can heal from the inside out and look forward to a lifetime of sobriety and wellness. If you are ready to take the first step in your recovery, please call us at 866-457-3843.