A teenage girl in California died by suicide after reportedly struggling to cope with the state’s stay-at-home orders amid the coronavirus outbreak. 15-year-old Jo’Vianni Smith from Stockton was found dead inside her home after she hanged herself last week.
Her mother, Danielle Hunt, said that Smith did not leave any note behind explaining her death. Hunt, however, believes that her daughter had trouble dealing with the ongoing coronavirus lockdown.
“We can’t think that our kids are OK just because…I felt that I was doing all that I could as a parent to leave the communication open,” Hunt told Fox40.
Smith, who is described as ‘bubbly’ and ‘loving,’ was a sophomore and a student athlete at Bear Creek High School; she played softball, basketball and music.
A coach at Smith’s school told Recordnet that “the cause of death reportedly was due to the stresses and pressures from coping with the self-isolation caused by the COVID-19 pandemic,” echoing the concerns of Hunt.
One of Smith’s former softball coaches, who was devastated after being told of her death said “she was a bright star with a great personality and a huge heart. and a bright future.”
“It’s been extremely hard to relate to what these kids are going through. I have daily conversations with my 2 high schoolers and encourage them to reach out to their friends and teammates. I can’t imagine what Jo was going through…,” he told Extra Inning Softball.
Bill Fletcher, who is also one of Smith’s former coaches, urged parents to communicate with their children about the pandemic and help them deal with the stress it brings.
“I can’t imagine what Jo was going through to come to this conclusion,” Fletcher reportedly wrote on a Facebook group. “Her mom is a single mom with her own catering business, which in these times couldn’t have been going well.”
Smith’s mother, Hunt, is at the moment working to raise awareness about suicide and mental health amid the pandemic that has killed over 20,000 Americans and infected more than 500,000.
“I will still do my best to tell my daughter’s story. Sometimes we may need to stop and worry about the kids that we don’t think we need to worry about,” she said.
In California, more than 600 people have died from coronavirus with around 20,000 infected. Its governor created mandatory stay-at-home orders on March 19 and the state’s COVID-19 website says these orders will continue until further notice.