Jo’Vianni “Jo” Smith, a 15-year-old from California, has killed herself, and her mother, Danielle Hunt, believes that the death is linked to the drastic changes in her life due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Hunt told local media that her daughter committed suicide last week in their Stockton home by hanging herself.
According to the grieving mother, the teenager was having issues dealing with stay-at-home orders that were issued by California’s governor, Gavin Newsom.
For several weeks now, the schools in California have been closed along with restaurants, movie theaters, and clothing stores, and people are asked to practice social distancing to protect themselves and others.
Smith was overtaken by stress and anxiety during the coronavirus lockdowns, which made it impossible for her to be with her friends and family members.
Smith did not leave a suicide note behind explaining her reason to take her life.
Hunt had this to say: “I felt that I was doing all that I could as a parent to leave the communication open, sometimes we may need to stop and worry about the kids that we don’t think we need to worry about.”
It has been revealed that Smith was a promising student at Bear Creek High School, where she played softball as a catcher and second baseman.
The high school sophomore was remembered on social media, where friends and family paid tribute via Facebook and Instagram.
Smith was also remembered by one of her former coaches, Bill Fletcher, who penned the moving tribute on Facebook and took the opportunity to ask parents to pay more attention and to better communicate with their children during the pandemic.
Fletcher wrote: “I can’t imagine what Jo was going through to come to this conclusion. Her mom is a single mom with her own catering business, which in these times couldn’t have been going well.”
Fletcher went on to say: “I’m asking you to keep this family in your prayers. I’m asking you to reach out to others and don’t just assume they are doing ok.”
A GoFundMe page has been launched to help Smith’s family to pay for the funeral arrangements.
The loved ones also hope to create a scholarship fund for female athletes “who aspire to play at a college level but maybe experiencing hardships in their lives.”
In a Twitter post, Bear Creek High School Athletics shared a Twitter post about Smith and called a “joyful spirit.”
Jorge Fernandez, the director of behavioral health for Golden Valley Health Centers, reached out to students and explained that there are many resources for mental health available during this difficult time.
Fernandez stated: “There are services out there. You can reach out to your medical provider. You can call a local suicide hotline… there’s help out there to help you cope with this pandemic that’s going on right now.”
It has been confirmed by education officials that two other students also committed suicide since the pandemic hit California.
More than 20,000 Californians have been infected by the COVID-19, and over 600 have died. The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (1-800-273-8255); TTY: 1-800-799-4TTY (4889) is open 24 hours a day for those in need of help.