LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — A Las Vegas man has made it his life’s mission to help cut down on the number of people taking their own lives.
Reggie Burton is a father who knows the issue too well, his son, Avery, died by suicide.
He is a parent who knows the heartache all too well. Burton says it is a sensitive topic but an important one that needs to be discussed so families can recognize the silent cries for help.
Graduation season can be a momentous time for students and everyone around them, but unfortunately, Burton says the celebration is a precursor to a stressful event.
He says Avery had the world ahead of him and in May of 2017 he graduated with a degree from UNLV with the hopes of being a doctor.
“He realized it wasn’t what he wanted or at least what he thinks he wanted and that’s what stirred the major depressive episode,” Burton tells 8 News Now.
Just two months later, the depressive state led to Avery completing suicide.
“This was a kid that was used to fix problems but this was one problem he couldn’t solve,” he added.
Burton says although his family was aware that Avery was going through a tough time, he was very good at hiding the extent of it, which his father says is a common sign among those struggling with mental illness.
“Families defeat to love, families want to love the problem away, and what we need to understand and a lesson we learned is love is not enough,” Burton expressed.
Dr. Gourav Zirath is a family physician with Southwest Medical and says it is okay for family and friends to take the first step to start the conversation.
“Have a day set aside where you spend half a day with your child, have a real heart-to-heart conversation. If there are any changes that parents notice from the normal that’s an area of concern and needs to be addressed,” Zirath said.
It’s a conversation that Burton hopes can turn the outcome around for families dealing with the sensitive issue.
“The surviving family members, my heart goes out to them, because they have a lot of questions and not a lot of answers,” Burton added.
Since his son’s death, Burton started the Avery Burton Foundation, aimed at helping those struggling.