“She was going to make a difference…” said a statement from Northern Virginia’s Marymount University on the unexpected and tragic death of 22-year-old Marisa Harris.
The Olney, Md. native and Marymount grad student was killed Saturday afternoon when a 12-year-old jumped off an I-66 overpass. Suicide is what Virginia State Police are investigating as the motive.
One of the big questions still out there is: Why would a 12-year-old take his life?
We still don’t know but a Montgomery County mother said it happens to children even younger than that. It happened to her daughter.
“It had been a really hard time and I didn’t really know what depression was,” said a now 10-year-old Yaroslava Yanevskyy.
“With Yasya,” said her mother Emma, “what we noticed was just incredible anxiety about being around anybody.”
“I didn’t want to be there. I didn’t’ want to be there at all,” said the fifth-grader.
“She just lost it and started screaming and crying and saying she didn’t want to be alive anymore and took-off running to go hurt herself,” said Emma Yanevskyy, “… I was able to run faster than her and catch her and had to just bear-hug her until she stopped enough.”
At 8 years old, Emma Yanevskyy said her daughter tried to end her life. Yanevskyy says she knew something was off because she also tried to do the same at 10 and 15 years old.
“I heard it all the time when I was growing up,” said the Montgomery County mom. “The, ‘Oh, they’re little kids. What do they have to be worried about?' Little kids have no stress – all you have to do is play games.”
Yanevskyy told WUSA9, “you can have clinical depression where you’re almost born with your brain almost pre-wired for this.”
“Even if someone doesn’t like you. That doesn’t mean that you should not like yourself, because that sometimes happens to me, but I just get through it,” said Yasya, that’s the nickname her parents call her.
She is now 10 years old and openly talks about her feelings. But there are still times that give them both pause, like when they learned the news of 22-year-old Marisa Harris lost her life.
“My heart’s breaking for what’s going on in Virginia, not just for the young man who felt like that was his only option. But also just for the innocent woman," said Yanevskyy before exhaling loudly.
She said she is open about her own experiences because she believes the taboo around suicide is what stops people from getting help.
“… the belief that if you’re depressed, you’re crazy or if you’re suicidal, you’re selfish. That stops people from getting help,” Yanevskyy said.
The number to the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is: 1-800-273-8255. They’re available 24/7.