Lee County mother starts suicide prevention nonprofit one year after daughter’s death

BROADWAY, NC (WTVD) – Latishea McAuley’s walk to her daughter’s grave, just outside Cameron Grove AME Zion Church on Broadway, came with a bit more weight on Tuesday.

“I feel very, very broken because I wish I could have saved my own child,” McAuley said.

June 15 marked exactly one year since McAuley’s daughter Sierra Mclean had committed suicide at the age of 18.

In an interview with ABC11, McAuley, now a mother of two, described Sierra as an intelligent and outgoing young woman, “She knew how to cook really well!”

But McAuley knew his daughter was struggling as well, struggling with her sanity. She was diagnosed with bipolar disorder, oppositional defiant disorder and ADHD.

She was able to provide Sierra with prescribed counseling and medication, but knew when Sierra was struggling. But she didn’t expect Sierra to commit suicide just a week after graduating from high school.

McAuley remembers Sierra giving him a present early, knowing immediately that something was wrong with that kind gesture. “She graduated from high school on June 9,” McAuley said with tears in his eyes.

A year after Sierra and McAuley’s death made it her mission to help others, something she felt called to do after two more teenagers committed suicide in the Lee County community soon after. Sierra’s passing.

McAuley decided to take it a step further in June: “I actually created a nonprofit called SAM, which is Sierra A’lise Mclean Incorporated,” adding that the new nonprofit seeks to provide families the finances to seek advice and pay for drugs.

On Tuesday, McAuley also teamed up with the Lee County Sheriff’s Department to host a suicide awareness barbecue called “Sierra Day,” in hopes of preventing other parents from walking in his place.

A new CDC report finds a 51% increase in suspected suicide attempts among girls ages 12 to 17 during the pandemic.

Sheriff Tracy Carter says this statistic is unfortunately not shocking, adding that it is something he is trying to resolve in his community.

Carter is hoping that ‘Sierra Day’ plays a part in helping others, “we face it every year, unfortunately. It happens too often and, you know, I hope maybe it could encourage someone who has trouble asking for help. “

For McAuley, this new nonprofit will be Sierra’s legacy, saying she will “continue to try to help other family members, so they don’t have to deal with this at all. what I’m facing now “.

Copyright © 2021 WTVD-TV. All rights reserved.

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