PINELLAS COUNTY, Fla. — It’s National Suicide Prevention Month and a local mother is speaking out for the first time since losing her 11-year-old son to suicide, in the hopes that his life will help save the lives of others. 

What You Need To Know

  •  September is National Suicide Prevention Month

  • Chera Nyerick lost her 11-year-old son to suicide two years ago

  • She is telling his story now in the hopes that his life will help save others

August 12 marked two years since 11-year-old Julian Carter took his own life. His mother, Chera Nyerick said while visiting his grandmother, her son overdosed on blood pressure medication — he had overdosed on medications and attempted suicide two times before. 

“Somehow he got into it, and took enough of it that it drastically lowered his blood pressure and they tried to give him medicine to bring his blood pressure back up and it just, I’m not sure exactly what happened there, but his heart couldn’t take it. His body at 11 couldn’t take it,” Nyerick said.

Records show at the time of his death Julian had been taken to the hospital 44 times under the Baker Act. 

Nyerick said for years Julian suffered from behavioral and mental health issues, but nothing she tried seemed to help.

“After therapy wasn’t seeming to work, medication wasn’t seeming to work,” she said. “Me sitting down and talking to him trying to figure out what was going on wasn’t working. Working with his schools to see if we could have meetings to see if we could figure out what was going on.”

Nyerick said she asked for help from the child welfare system. She said the agency, Eckerd Connects was supposed to assist but never gave her son the help he needed. 

Spectrum News reached out to officials with Eckerd Connects, but they declined to comment on the case. 

A report from the Department of Children and Families investigated how this case was handled. The report noted several mistakes were made with the handling of this case. One line in the document reads: “Multiple policies and procedures were not adhered to throughout the life of the case, which could have changed the trajectory of the case had they been followed.”

Julian’s family is now suing the agency and Stacie Schmerling is the attorney representing them.

“This child came into the child welfare system with Eckerd having full knowledge of this child’s needs and that he needed a full residential placement, and Eckerd as the agency responsible for finding that placement and ensuring he had the services he needed," said Schmerling. "They failed to do that."

Nyerick said she’s hoping her son’s death sparks change and she has a message for parents. 

“If your kid is threatening to kill themselves or somebody else, it needs to be taken seriously every single time," she said. "And that may be the reason why Julian had so many baker acts because I took it seriously every single time."