Walk to raise awareness on depression

  • Important day: the first Annual Suicide Awareness Walk in memory of Kiara Paiva, took place on Saturday at Cooper’s Island Nature Reserve. Pictured are Kiara parents, Kylie and Billy (Photograph by Akil Simmons)

    Important day: the first Annual Suicide Awareness Walk in memory of Kiara Paiva, took place on Saturday at Cooper’s Island Nature Reserve. Pictured are Kiara parents, Kylie and Billy (Photograph by Akil Simmons)

  • Tragic loss: Kiara Paiva committed suicide last year

(Photo supplied)

    Tragic loss: Kiara Paiva committed suicide last year (Photo supplied)

A father who lost his daughter to suicide pleaded with her not to take her own life days before she died, he revealed at the weekend.

Billy Paiva’s world was rocked when his 15-year-old daughter Kiara died a year ago.

Mr Paiva, 52, said: “I think I cried every day for the first three months.”

He explained: “She told me she didn’t want to be here about a week before.

“I said, please don’t go that way, not only are you going to take your life, you’re going to take mine.

“You just never think that she would do it. It never crossed my mind that she would do it.

“She didn’t want to go to school at the end.”

Mr Paiva, a maintenance manager for Gosling’s, added: “Sometimes she would call her mama in the room and she would just be crying, she wouldn’t know why.”

He and his wife Kylie were joined by about 100 people for a walk in memory of the Berkeley Institute pupil last Saturday.

The event was designed to highlight the need to talk about mental health in the hope it could save lives.

Kiara was found unconscious in the family’s Hamilton Parish home about noon on January 7, 2019, and was later pronounced dead by doctors.

Her mother said that the family discovered she was struggling when they received a call from her daughter’s school.

The HSBC chargeback officer explained: “She kept it from us very well. We didn’t actually find out until about November 2018 that she was suffering.”

She added: “She went and spoke to a counsellor at school, that’s kind of how we found out.

“We immediately took her for counselling and really a month and a half later she was gone.”

Kylie’s parents said they believed they were “doing everything right” to help their child.

But they added they now questioned if a regime of medication taken by their daughter was the best option.

Ms Paiva, 50, said: “We didn’t really have time to grasp what she was going through.

“She was very good at hiding, even from her best friend, that she was suffering.”

She added: “I don’t know that they had even diagnosed her, but it was some sort of depression.

“She had only gone to a couple of counselling sessions.

“That’s one of our hardest things, not knowing why.”

Kiara’s death also devastated older sister Tianna, 34, brothers Cory, 32, and Ryan, 26, other relatives and friends. Ms Paiva said that Kiara sent a note to her best friend before she died “to say that she just couldn’t take it any more”.

It was understood the caring teenager was popular and not the victim of bullying.

Her mother explained: “All her friends were saying she was well liked, she just started to pull away in the end.”

Kiara was a keen horse rider and had a horse named Snoopy.

Ms Pavia added: “Any time I see a horse, I remember her being on a horse and riding.

“She loved animals — she brought four stray cats home.”

Mr and Ms Paiva said they were “overwhelmed” by the amount of people who turned out for the suicide awareness walk at Cooper’s Island Nature Reserve in St George’s.

It was organised by Kiara’s Movement, a group set up to encourage discussion about mental health problems.

Ruth Moran, a co-founder of the group and Ms Paiva’s best friend, told walkers: “Out of our pain we wanted to ensure no other human feels like suicide is their only option.

“Our mission is to end the stigma around talking about and taking care of our mental health.”

She explained that the group aimed to make sure that anyone who was struggling would know where to turn and what resources were available.

Ms Moran added: “Today we walk in memory of Kiara and invite you to walk in remembrance of your loved ones or if you are here to take a stand for your own mental wellness — fantastic.”

If you need support or are experiencing suicidal thoughts, please seek professional help or call the Mid-Atlantic Wellness Institute’s 24-hour crisis line on 239-1111.

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Published Jan 14, 2020 at 8:00 am (Updated Jan 14, 2020 at 10:50 am)

Walk to raise awareness on depression

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