Brandon Mateo suicide was a tragic story. He was only 14 years old when he tragically ended his life in February 2020. His memory lives on, however, through the tireless advocacy work of his mother, Shannon Mateo, who supports various causes in honor of her son.
Brandon was receiving mental health treatment at the time of his passing
Brandon Mateo, born on 1 August 2005, was the cherished son of Shannon and Robert Mateo. Despite being characterized as a happy but solitary child, his parents made efforts to provide companionship by introducing a younger brother, Codi, into his life. Brandon was a loving child, known for his frequent expressions of affection towards his family. When he revealed his struggle with mental health issues at the age of 12, his parents ensured he received professional assistance, including therapy and medication. They also provided a supportive home environment. Although signs of progress were evident, it was not sufficient to save Brandon from his inner turmoil. On 18 February 2020, Brandon tragically ended his own life.
Shannon, in a Facebook postdated 12 December 2022, shared her belief that a failed teenage relationship might have contributed to her son’s despair. She advised other parents to take their teenager’s feelings seriously, listen to them, empathize, and refrain from demanding an explanation for their emotions.
Brandon Mateo suicide initiated a dialogue about mental health in Washoe County
Brandon’s suicide, which occurred during a period when the suicide rate was notably high among teenagers in Washoe County, drew much-needed attention to the issue of mental health. Shannon actively began advocating for mental health awareness and suicide prevention. She collaborated with the Washoe County Sheriff’s Office to produce mental health awareness videos in May 2021. Shannon also encourages people to contribute to suicide prevention organizations and initiatives that align with Brandon’s interests, such as a culinary scholarship established in his memory.
The Mateo family is attempting to move on from the tragedy
Despite the deep pain of losing her son, Shannon regularly posts pictures of Brandon on an Instagram page dedicated to preserving his memory. The Mateo family tries to maintain a semblance of normalcy, with Shannon marrying Brandon’s father, Robert, in March 2021. Furthermore, Shannon shares her joyous moments with her other son, Codi, acknowledging him as the reason she keeps going. She is grateful for the financial help received from supporters, which has enabled the family to access necessary therapy services.
A Mother’s Pain: Coping with Her Son’s Suicide
Shannon Mateo will forever remember Tuesday, February 18, 2020, as the day she and her husband lost their adolescent son, 14-year-old Brandon Mateo, to suicide.
“There was no apparent trigger or significant event that day,” Mateo shared. “Perhaps his brain chemistry simply couldn’t keep pace with his medication.”
Brandon was not only a student at Damonte Ranch High School, but he was also a cherished son, sibling, and companion. He encountered a phase in his life where, as his mother believes, his mental health struggles pushed him to his limits.
Around the age of 12, Brandon began to articulate his mental health issues, comparing his mood to a dull, gray day. Upon learning of his struggles, Shannon and her husband promptly sought therapeutic help for Brandon and endeavored to spend more quality time with him. However, Shannon lamented that despite their efforts, Brandon’s battle with depression became too much for him to bear.
“Depression, like the air, is invisible but real,” Mateo stated. “Dismissing it as unreal makes children feel defective, fractured, and impaired.”
In Washoe County, suicide is a prominent cause of death among teenagers, a fact underscored by experts. Shannon asserted that the critical discourse around mental health isn’t taking place in local schools.
“There’s no safe space for those struggling with mental health to connect with others who understand, to reassure them that it’s okay to feel as they do,” expressed Mateo.
Recently, five students from Damonte Ranch High tragically passed away. Shannon emphasized that these deaths are not associated with her son’s suicide.
“The issue of suicide often gets overlooked. People hesitate to use the word ‘suicide’, but it’s unfortunate for Damonte, as they’re being implicated in a situation they’re not responsible for,” Shannon clarified.
These five distinct losses have profoundly impacted numerous families. The Mateo family encourages parents to shower their children with extra love and support during these trying times.
Parents Speak Out about the Importance of Listening to Teens
Following a tragic suicide, Brandon’s mother, Shannon, has passionately appealed to parents of teenagers to be more attuned to their children’s feelings. “Respect what matters to your teenagers. Listen to them. Understand them. Don’t look for an explanation for their feelings, as not being able to articulate their pain can make them feel worse,” Shannon advised. She has been an active participant in suicide prevention initiatives and campaigns. In late 2022, she encouraged her network to contribute to the Bees Buddies scholarship program, a project honoring Brandon’s passion for cooking.
Final Thoughts on Brandon Mateo Suicide
In summary, Brandon Mateo’s heartbreaking story holds vital lessons. It’s particularly essential for parents to pay careful attention to their children, especially during their adolescent years. While adulthood certainly presents its own set of challenges, it’s crucial to remember that teenagers also face their own struggles and need attentive care.