'How did I miss it?' Mom hopes others learn from son's suicide attempt
“I need to tell you, that your son attempted to take his life tonight,” Angie Welty said, remembering the words no family could prepare for.
Five years later, and the Welty family has banded together – both to help their son and others like him.
Angie said she wants families to talk about the hard stuff, and to take away the stigma that surrounds mental health.
“5 years ago May 1st is when it happened,” Welty remembered.
She says the day started out like any other. Angie got her two kids off to school, later she headed to the baseball fields to watch her son, Cody, play.
“I sent him a text and said 'hey dinner is at home tonight, I'll see you when you get home,'” Angie said.
Cody never responded, which Angie said was out of character for her son.
“I called and it went straight to voicemail and I knew, something is not right," she said. “I looked at my husband and said 'if he does not call me back in fifteen minutes I’m calling the Calvary, something is wrong.' Probably within fiveminutes the phone rang,” Angie said.
On the other end, a Clackamas County deputy.
“'I need to tell you that your son attempted to take his life tonight,'” she remembered the deputy saying “At that point for me, everything I knew to be true was just shattered.”
Thanks to a stranger finding him, Cody didn't die.
“It’s an absolute miracle that he was saved, because where he was at he shouldn't have been found,” Angie said.
Almost immediately, Angie questioned herself.
“As a mom, your job is to take care of your child. How did I miss it?” she said.
Together the family faced a long road to help Cody. With a mix of counseling and medication he found balance. Now, Angie and Cody have made it their life mission to help other families.
“One of my goals and things we work on is that it has to be part of normal conversation and it has to start way earlier in life,” Angie said.
Angie says, for parents it’s important to ask the tough questions, ask more than just ‘How are you?’ instead ask pointed questions and talk openly about mental health.
For resources and information on how to talk to kids visit our mental health resource page.