TOLEDO, Ohio (WTVG) - Suicide rates are on the rise across the United States according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention. Now, a local comedian is sharing her personal story of her grandson's suicide in a documentary that was released Tuesday on Amazon Prime. It's called "A Cry for Help: The Ajane' Burt Story."
Earlean "Queen Cookie" Belcher says her life was changed when Ajane' died by suicide at the age of 25.
"He grew up in a home of mental illness and depression," says Belcher, who tells 13abc she believes those factors played a role in his death. "A lot of times you can be just like your environment or you can do a 360 and be the opposite. He was like his environment."
Belcher says Ajane's mother was an addict and when she died by suicide herself, she left behind five kids, including Ajane'. All of the kids were placed with relatives except Ajane', who Belcher says went into foster care after his father (Belcher's son) abandoned him.
Belcher says it's important to pay attention to your kids, ask how they are feeling and get them help immediately.
"It's amazing since I lost my grandson to see how many people are suffering with this thing called life," says Belcher, whose grief after losing Ajane' was captured in the documentary about his life. After she lost him, she says she didn't want to live anymore herself.
"... I was teetering on the ledge of life and death," says Belcher. "I chose life. My grandson teetered, he chose death. There are so many people that walk around with false fronts, false faces of happiness. Unless you get to know them and get to know their story, you don't know what their heart is doing on the inside of their bodies."
If you or someone you know is struggling with thoughts of suicide, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-8255. The number is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. You can also use the crisis hotline by texting the word "home" to 741-741.