LIBERTY HILL, Texas (KXAN) — Will and Amanda Crossland now bear the heaviest grief a parent can after losing their son Jaycee to suicide last fall. The family has now used social media to spread suicide prevention awareness – now millions have been inspired to #bekindforjaycee.
“He was getting ready to be a junior and he was turning into this really big social butterfly,” said Amanda Crossland, Jaycee’s stepmother.
The Crosslands said they sought counseling sessions for Jaycee after he started to withdraw from certain things he once enjoyed – like his first ever job.
Amanda said Jaycee was open in his struggles at school with being bullied and confided in both she and Will frequently.
Because he had access to supportive parents and counseling – Amanda said Jaycee’s suicide came as a complete shock, leaving the family devastated.
Will hopes adults and children having suicidal thoughts will reach out to loved ones.
“Mental health is a real thing. And if you’re feeling down or depressed or anything, there’s people out there that do care. You may not like they’re there, but they are there. They were there,” said Will.
In December, Amanda said she found footage from the family’s video doorbell from the day Jaycee took his life.
Amanda screams out loud and slowly crumples to the ground as paramedics walk solemnly out the front door past the stunned family.
Weeks later, Amanda said she felt the urge to post the video and did so under the name @shopmomofmany – this in reference to the couple’s auto business and big brood of kids.
She posted the video – uncertain if it would get 1 or 1million views. Now it has more than 47 million views — those viewers getting an all-too real look at the aftermath of suicide.
Amanda and Will said commenters on their videos often post that after watching their account they’ve now sought a therapist or to reach out to family. Knowing their loss has helped prevent others is bittersweet, the family said.
“Jaycee created a change and he has no idea. He has no idea. And I just hope that this was our purpose,” said Amanda through tears.
The couple hopes those that hear their story will #bekindforjaycee and check on their loved ones.
The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline launched over the summer. Anyone facing a mental health or addiction crisis can dial 988.