WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – A Wichita woman has made it her mission to raise awareness for suicide prevention after her brother took his own life in 2015.
Esther Granados has boxes filled with special mementos of her brother, Vincent.
“He was very caring, very genuine, really funny,” said Granados. “He was always laughing. Everyone loved him.”
Vincent was known by many as, “Boy.” His sister said he battled depression for years.
“When he got depressed, he got really depressed,” said Granados. “He struggled for a long time with that.”
In 2015, at age 22, Vincent took his own life.
“Your heart literally breaks,” said Granados. “How in the world did I not help him? What else could I have done?”
Esther is now a vital part of suicide prevention efforts in Wichita. She is the director of behavioral health at HealthCore Clinic and in her personal life, shares her brother’s story with the hope of saving lives.
“My ultimate goal would be that we talk about mental health just the way that we talk about physical health. That it’s nothing to be ashamed about. It’s nothing that you need to hide. We need to bring mental health out in the open, we need to talk about it, everybody can feel comfortable with it so that they can get the help and resources that they need.”
Granados wants others to also feel comfortable supporting their loved ones who need help.
“Reach out to those that love you, and if you see somebody that you love, that you care about, for you to reach out to them,” said Granados.
Sunflowers are everywhere in her home. She said it’s her family’s special sign from Vincent and a bright reminder for others that there is always help out there.
“My brother loved life,” said Granados. “It was just when he was depressed, he couldn’t see that and so I’m really hoping that people can see that every situation in life is temporary and there is always the chance for hope that things will get better.”
Granados was a therapist before her brother died, but said since then, she’s discovered a passion for raising awareness and helping others, although she said it did come at a great personal cost.
She speaks in front of groups, participates in suicide awareness events and shares her brother’s story every chance she gets.
Granados is now being trained for a new program that will allow her to go into local schools to talk to students about mental health and offer them resources for how to get help.
“You have to live life to the fullest,” said Granados. “Whatever it is you want to do, you have to go after it 100 percent.”
If you or someone you know needs help, the National Suicide Prevention Hotline is open 24 hours a day at 1-800-273-8255.