After son's suicide, parents hope to help others struggling with depression

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SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (KY3) -- Sam Holmes, a Missouri State University golfer, was only 19 years old when he took his own life over the weekend after a long battle with anxiety and depression.

His teammates played golf at Twin Oaks Golf and Country Club in Springfield, Missouri on Monday and Tuesday in his honor.

Holmes' parents say so many struggle with mental illness, and they want people to know they are not alone.

"It was almost impossible for him (Sam) to talk about it, even with his best friends and even with us, and that was his downfall. It was just totally encompassing and overwhelming," said his father, Tim Holmes.

He says his son was bright, witty and had a great sense of humor. He was also a standout golfer. He led Glendale to a high school state team title as a senior.

"We tried our best and he just could not see any future that didn't include the pain that he was suffering... the sleepless nights to being exhausted during the day. He would stay up all night long because he was so fearful facing the next day," said his mother, Mary Jane Holmes.

Depression, she says, gripped him for years as it does countless others. Anecdotally speaking, the Lost and Found Grief Center of the Ozarks says their clientele is sadly growing a lot.

"It's that crisis in mental health care that exists in our society and it's here in Springfield," said Lost and Found executive director Karen Scott.

She says families have poured in over the last few weeks, dealing with a young person's suicide death.

"I don't know the reasons behind that, but the majority of them that have come to our awareness are a result of long-term depression and anxiety. Families that did try to get help and were aware of it, but it wasn't working," said Scott.

"The lack of psychiatrists - we have to wait eight months, maybe longer to get in," Mrs. Holmes explained. "A parent's worst pain is not being able to help their child, and so I just feel relief. I miss him very much and always will."

The Holmes' say those struggling with depression should not do it alone.

"I just want to reach out to every mother and father out there. I would love to talk with them and give them support however I can," Mary Jane said.

"I think the most important thing is for people to talk about suicide," Scott said. "Take away the stigma and acknowledge that there are many people that you may not realize, again, because we have this stigma about depression and mental health - there are many people who struggle with depression and many of them are young and you may not know it."

Read the original version of this article at ky3.com.