Suicide: A High School Student Takes Her Life

Maddie Yates took her life in last month April 2014. One of her best friends, Brianna Berrier, had taken her life one year earlier. Mattie and others planned a fundraising walk to increase awareness of suicide prevention. Below is a transcript of her final Youtube tape titled “Important.”

A Still from Final Video
A Still from Final Video

A High School Student Committed Suicide After Posting A Message Of Her Intent On YouTube


I know it’s not OK for me to be doing this, but I just can’t do this anymore. It feels like I’m being swallowed whole into myself. It physically hurts. Sometimes it hurts so bad that I throw up, and sometimes I just get panic attacks. I know this is selfish. You know, the doctor prescribed Prozac for depression and anxiety, but those are just fancy words for “selfish.” I know that I’m going to hurt everyone who loves me, and I really do love them too. But I’ve been like this for so long, and there’s still a chance that the worst day might still be coming. And I just don’t see how this is a bad idea because it’s like someone’s on the 12th floor, and the room behind them is on fire. And they’re standing on the window ledge and they have a choice whether or not to jump and get away from the fire or just stay and die a slow, excruciating death. It feels like that.

But I don’t want anyone to feel like it was their fault. This was my decision, not yours. I’m the one who messed up, not you. There’s nothing, literally nothing that you could have done; you’ve all tried so hard to help me. And I tried too. I guess it’s like I don’t mean to be over dramatic, but it’s like there’s a demon inside of me [inaudible].

You can’t help me. You’ve tried. And I’m sorry. I really don’t mean to hurt anyone. Remember that I’m doing you a favor. Remember how bad of a person I really am. I say awful things. Even if I don’t mean them, I say them. You don’t even want to know the things that I think; I am not a good person. I’m doing literally the whole world a favor. But I love you, and I’m sorry. And I really, really love you.


This video shows an intelligent, wise young lady with so much to offer. helping others as much as herself by sharing her wisdom on self-acceptance and acceptance of others.

BackToSchoolSeries Episode 1 Acceptance

My condolences to her family. Being a survivor of two suicide losses I empathsize . My advice return to a routine as soon as possible and do not feel the need to hide emotions. Remember and talk about Maddie with others who loved her. It was the kindness and connection to others that really helped me.

Finally, depression is a lifelong struggle in a high-stressed society where personal achievement is the goal. Anyone who finds herself looking at the future as hopeless and filled with pain should seek help immediately. Talk with someone you trust and respect.

If someone confides feelings of hopelessness and pain, you should listen, stay with that friend and help convince the person to get help. Most people who commit suicide downplay their intentions.   When such a person comes to you it will be to talk about pain…listen, support and help the person get help by giving them positive alternatives called HOPE to reduce the pain.

If you or someone you know is considering suicide, please seek help. Call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255).

Full Story:    A High School Student Committed Suicide After Posting A Message Of Her Intent On YouTube


Author: Angela Grant

Angela Grant is a medical doctor. For 22 years, she practiced emergency medicine and internal medicine. She studied for one year at Harvard T. H Chan School Of Public Health. She writes about culture, race, and health.

35 thoughts on “Suicide: A High School Student Takes Her Life

    1. Wow; this took my breath away. What an amazing girl and what a stupid crazy world! Is there a reason Angela to give every single person serotonin to see if it works? Forget that Prozac is an SSRI and not “just” serotonin but what the hell is wrong with doctors today? I never saw the original YouTube and never found out what made her so depressed but an SSRI for a young soul like that? I am so sick and tired of most doctors–most psychiatrists specifically. They have no idea how they kill people one by one without understanding what drugs do.. I had one telling me that SSRIs do not flood the brain with serotonin!! Really! And this is a doctor? Hopefully not for long… I hope now other person takes his/her life away for a temporary problem that may have better solution out there than a drug with serotonin! Gosh… What a shame.

      1. I cried when I read her note. What could she have thought she did that make her think she was evil? I wondered about her religion. At 5-6 years old, I started going to confession every Sunday. I grew up thinking I was a bad person, despite my rosary.

        I think transparency is opening our eyes to psychiatry as a field of sorcery where labels discredit and medications can permanently alter the body’s physiology while transiently improving symptoms of depression. SSRIs are not for everyone; they cause a host of new problems.

        Angela, what amazes me about teenagers are their belief systems. They carry the world on their shoulders. They know a lot, yet not enough and ignorant of latter. In her video, I agree she was struggling and in retrospect was a clue.

        Looks like professional help did not help. I wonder if her doctor knew the Prozac did not help. In children, during the first months of therapy with SSRI there is increased risk of suicide. SSRIs can cause depersonalization with lack of feelings..

        The other ugly side of suicide is the guilt and blame. It is natural to feel guilt, but suicide is an individual decision in a person experiencing emotional anguish. Those loved ones left behind will feel guilt, and that is natural but it was not your decision.

        1. I totally agree Angela. I also think that there has not been real research done on the cause of depression. Particularly just “general depression” and not what would be categorized as “clinical depression.” It did not seem to me that she had clinical depression but periodic one, which requires something other than serotonin! Most psychiatrists today give SSRI (or SNRI or serotonin of any kind) prescription for anxiety or bipolar yet the two parts of the brain and the two different types of hormones (for depression and anxiety) are so distinct as if someone gave you a hair shampoo for a toothache!

          I honestly think that more education of pharmaceuticals are needed and much more supervision needed over what is being prescribed and when. I think I told you that my mom died last month. It was not a natural death: psychiatric death is more like it. I went after all the doctors who mistreated her, all the hospitals, skilled nursing, and even 2 pharmacies that did not know what was serotonin and what was not! Plus a nurse who lied that caused her death. She had serotonin syndrome, which I diagnosed but no one even knew what that was let alone how to treat it… they treated her for schizophrenia, psychosis, gave her dopanergic drugs that force dementia on those who do not have it.. you name it, she got it. The only treatment she got for her SS was from me when I discovered it and told the nurse to act. She said “Oh I cannot I have to call the doctor..” so I pulled the phone and turned the recorder on and told her to repeat what she just said so if she dies (SS kills if in 24 hours ii goes untreated) it is her responsibility and she accepts that… this made her act… One literally has to kick and bite to get things done that need to be done. But I saved her life just to be taken away by others who simply ignored… so now her autopsy is by UCLA at the molecular level… I will serve justice.. You just watch!

          One of the skilled nursing was already investigated and my allegations substantiated. AND they found out that a psych doctor there lied to me! I did not even know that! AND I found out that he was practicing under the license of someone else! What a shameful world this is! I am doing my best to make changes at least in the field of medicine. I wish I could reach teenagers. I have none in my circle only 30 somethings, my kids’ age. Many of them too are messed still up. I am at least talking to some of them. But wow, our medical system must go!

          1. Hi Angela,

            How are you coping with your mom’s loss? It probably hasn’t had time to settle.

            You are correct our medical delivery system has to change …the science is becoming too fuzzy, illogical and harming patients.

            Have you read your mother’s medical records as yet? Illegal activities are overlooked and used to fabricate stories in medicine.

            The psych doctor may lose his license in that state, find another job without effort in another state.. Our medical system tipped the balance of privacy and confidentiality–once used to protect patient information and rights now protect hospitals, their employed physicians and other medical providers.

            1. Thanks Angela. I am coping OK so far.. we’ll see about it this Sunday as this will be my first mother’s day without a mom so my kids are also concerned.. we sort of diverted mother’s day this year for that reason and I decided to take my granddaughter out for her favorite place of choice (sushi) to celebrate her straight A report card. That is my mother’s day gift I decided. 🙂 My other son will take me to Baskin Robins–I don;t sin with sweets but if I do it must be a good one and I like that one. 🙂

              I have received every single medical record (a fortune!) and caught the most amazing things.

              One of them will be coming up shortly in the New York Times by Paula Span–maybe on her blog or in the paper–on how our medical system ignores the power of attorneys. Everywhere we went, I gave them a hard copy of my mother’s durable power of attorney and of all the places she was sent to, only one actually acknowledged it. Amazingly, one of them had a copy of her durable power or attorney in the records with a paper on top stating that she has no power of attorney… now that is clueless!

              Everywhere she went, her medical records stated that she was allergic to serotonin and SSRI (I had them put that on) and she even wore a red bracelet for allergy yet EVERYWHERE they stuffed her with serotonin and when I asked, they told me that was not serotonin… even 2 pharmacies did!

              The last place where she got the final dose that gave her the stroke, I cornered the doctor and asked her if she knew my mom was allergic to serotonin.. she said the medicine was not serotonin. I pulled it up for her on my iPhone to show that it was a serotonergic/dopanergic drug (Namenda) and so she started to give me this blah blah… so finally I stopped her and asked “do you know you are talking to a neuroscientist?”… she blushed as red as possible.. then I asked her if she knew what dopamine was? no.. what dopamine was used for in the brain? no… what serotonin was? no.. what serotonin was used for in the brain? no… I told her to go back to school…

              The same place said next day by phone to me “yay! Your mother passed the swallow test so we take her to this other hospital” where she belonged.. of course her throat was frozen and she did not pass the wallow test so on the records I read: “she spit the ice chip out. In trying one drop of honey consistency syrup, with minimal gagging…”… duh.. 1 drop with minimal gagging is passing the swallow test? Really?

              And then in the final hospital I had to say my final goodbye to her 3 days before she died because the case manager was in my hair every minute, called me several times each day saying “we need to discharge your mom because it looks so bad for the hospital if she dies here”… lol.. I told her “I am so sorry for the hospital” and from then on I did not respond to any phone until I knew the final call would come…

              It is a shame how hospitals, doctors and nurses are and before she was even settled in ER the case manager was already on my back for discharge… a fly I could not get rid of. All these will be attacked and then published! And I will not rest until the system changes! I have filed complaints against 9 doctors plus a nurse in addition to all hospitals. One skilled nursing was perfect and I did not file against them. They were the only ones where her rights were observed and kept. Unfortunately that was a skilled nursing for the mentally ill and since she was not mentally ill in any way, she wanted out. That was her only safe place. The very next day she left that place she had the stroke from Namenda… that was her end. 5 days later she died. My pain moved into anger.

              I am accomplishing a lot of things and I will bring the medical system to its knees–at least in California since it is governed by different laws in each state.

        2. “……….suicide is an individual decision in a person experiencing emotional anguish.” Not always! Here’s part of what I wrote a little while ago in the thread I mentioned earlier: >> And then there were people who carefully planned their exit, lived the last days of their life joyfully, with great energy, told me not to worry, and then stepped out gracefully. I salute them. <<

          1. Why did they exit? Happy people do not kill themselves. However, once those unhappy folks make that decision a sense of relief follows and another signal generated is the final goodbye. Yes Roald, those people planned to exit, typical of older adults who commit suicide.

            Those who plan their deaths usually have chronic medical illnesses that affect their quality of life or are suffering from the loss of loved ones. Their planned exits heralded by generosity ( giving away treasured items), relief and final goodbyes to loved ones.

            1. “Happy people do not kill themselves.”? Maybe so, but not the case with the people I was talking about. Hence, your generalization is wrong, mainstream thought, and denial of a reality alien to you as well as rejected by you.

            2. Definitions are important… and Once the decision is made: Taniya Hattersfied and terrorist suicide bombers probably have sick senses of joy and also feel burdensome. Suicide is meant to relieve pain; in general happy people know how to relieve their pain and do not feel a burden to the world, happy people have a sense of self efficacy.

            3. “Suicide is meant to relieve pain……” Guess that’s your definition of it, and a lot of other worshippers of the religion of common sense, but it certainly is not mine. Obviously in yours, “pain” is a negative thing and to avoid. Tell that to bdsm aficionados. Um….just to name one club, eh?

            4. Maybe we should start with your deifinitions since mine is so trite
              Please tell me more about those happy people who intentionally take their lives because they are so happy.

            5. Fuck definitions! Definitions only kill the uniqueness of people. Definitions came alive because the herd couldn’t deal with this uniqueness, hated the zillion of variations among humans, their different feelings, motivations, skin colors, beliefs, tastes, and a multiple other things. Of course also because its members were uncomfortable and confused with their own uniqueness, even feared same, and needed a general anchor to hold on to, to belong to, and to give them a pseudo identity. So they invented labels, categories, and even a DSM. They HAD to bring the uniqueness of a human being down, limit it, and restrict it to race, religion, sex, profession, age, country, background, mental disorder, education, political party, and what have you. Among other things, racism, discrimination, and suicide, are the result of this ultra damaging act!

              I unlearned to define people, and related areas, by this crap! I became one who welcomes so called multiple personalities and not cripple same by calling it roles, or even worse, disorders.

              People commit suicide because they don’t feel accepted, abandoned, and as you said, to relief horrendous pain. Pain delivered to them by the herd, the alleged caring ones, and the self-proclaimed scholars of the DSM and silly booklets alike.

              A teenage girl came to me. In tears she told me that she was diagnosed bipolar. Now she felt worthless, sick, lost, depressed, guilty, and without desire to continue living. I explained to her that Earth is bipolar too, and was it not, we humans wouldn’t even exist. Her face lighted up like a rainbow in a vanishing dark sky. Yes, she got the message. Then she gave me a hug, and danced out of my office.

              I will never commit suicide (unless maybe when I become terminal with some stinky disease), because, as you can read in “Feeling gooooood”, I want to be immortal. But I’ll be damned if I would make that a rule for all.

            6. I agree with everything you both have said (I particularly love your answer about bipolar Roald!) but I must add some people whom you mentioned earlier Angela as “mentally ill” in being happy to commit suicide. These are the terrorists. They are not really mentally ill any more than any other religious fanatic… believe it or not we had a study on religious people at one point and discovered that religion is like sugar or drug: it is addictive. So suicide bombers who kill themselves do so out of happiness (not to mention the 14 or however many virgins they are getting). There are a variety of reasons people commit suicide–also to save others out of altruism.

              So I guess we need to define what we mean by suicide since there are so many kinds… So is suicide “killing oneself” or “getting something in exchange belief”?

  1. That her incredibly important video has been removed now from YouTube gives you an idea why people commit suicide. Even after they died, no matter all them fine cliché comments on same, they must feel abandoned (again) and not understood (again).

    “Get help”? What a great thought. And so wise too. But from whom? Paraphrasing the words of your namesake in the West: From the clueless ones? Really? And then the help this young woman got? Prozac? WTF!?

    1. You notice I did not say get help from a doctor or medical provider because I think a good friend with common sense is more reliable help than entering the doors of medicine. Combine that with relaxation exercises, Yoga, dieting, sleep, friends and family, etc. most people will get better. People who are acutely suicidal need help and you are correct they may not get it with our system of delivering stress and eliminating health.

      I thought the same of the video. For Christ sake, making videos was important to her, and she left one for the world. I am glad the transcript was available.. Her words are powerful. Every 15-17 minutes, someone, kills himself, every minute someone attempts. Her words could save someone’s life, and her video used as a message for suicide prevention.

      1. There is a LI thread called “Can suicide be rational? ” to which I posted several comments. As usual not all comments over there are on topic. Still, some of them are quite interesting.

        The video above has some clues.

        Suicide is not always caused by despair. Suicide is not a disease.

        1. Roald, you are correct. Suicide is not a disease, but it is caused by a mental disorder. What is a mental disorder? Good question!

          Can suicide be rational? YES

          There are many reasons for suicide. In children and young adults, suicide is usually an impulsive act. Some research suggests there is less than one hour between the final decision and death.

          90% of people who commit suicide have histories of mental disorders and substance abuse.

          Making a decision to end one’s life on impulse or while severely depressed or under the influence is not rational.

          On the other hand, I would not want to be dead on a vent or completely reliant on others for care. If my health deteriorated to that level of care, I would like mercy and to close my eyes to this world forever. So yes I do believe adults with terminal illnesses can make rational decisions to end their lives.

          1. I loved your question Angela of what is a mental disorder anyway. I believe we have no mental disorders; we have anatomical and biochemical differences that we label mental illness which then comes with a stigma. I think that just as autism was at one time believed to be lack of motherly care but now is “autism spectrum disorder” (still a disorder and not a condition like a toothache), all changes in the brain (chemical or physiological) cause differences in brain chemistry that make people do and feel certain things certain way. The behavior is not the illness; it is a symptom. This is exactly my field of research and hence my book on Fighting the Migraine Epidemic has been a very successful one because 100% of research goes after the pain of migraine… but that is wrong. I can have a pain in my toe and it may have come from a pinched nerve in my back.. Surely the specialist they will refer me to is a podiatrist and what is his interest of sending me to a back surgeon? Nada… My book is about cause.

            The same with migraines and with all brain changes… no one seems to look at the cause.. they look at the end result of the changes but not the cause. Did you by any chance watch 60-Minutes this past Sunday? They visited an elderly facility that was called Leisure World but they changed the names since the occupants hated the name. I don’t remember what it is called now but UCI now is running an active research on why people live past 90 and are so healthy. They have over 30 years of records available on thousands of people and discovered a couple of completely counter-modern-medicine things:

            1) plaques in the brain are not only not pointing toward Alzheimer’s or other types of dementia but are not even associated with it!
            2) being a bit fatter than skinnier is actually good for you! Those who had a bit of tummy fat lived longer!
            3) higher blood pressure is better for you on the long run than 120/80!!
            4) 1-3 cups or coffee or 2 glasses of ANY alcoholic beverage (not just red wine) is better for you than none!

            The most amazing to me are the plaques. Nearly 100% of doctors today in scans and MRIs look for plaques and this study showed that they have absolutely no connection to dementia of any kind. In the thousands they examined, there were many with plaques that had absolutely no mental impairment; there were many who had no plaques and were completely demented… I wonder how long before these finding will reach doctors in medical offices! Decades in my estimation!

            Same with mental stuff. Every single doctor who has ever taken a class in brain anatomy knows (or should know) that depression is a different part of the brain and uses different neurotransmitters from anxiety, bipolar, etc. They also should know that serotonin, even for the clinically depressed, only works for less than 30% of the cases and for those, a prescription of sunshine and foods containing serotonin may also be good enough.

            I have now a group of almost 300 members on FB that follows my book on migraines and several are already running migraine free. And you know what? My book contains: eat salt and water! Totally against current medical waves! But all of my doctors agreed after reading the neural analysis in my book that heck, without voltage the brain is dead.. no wonder it hurts! So do we REALLY need tryptans to treat migraines? Hell no.. take a pinch of salt, drink plenty of water, and eat potassium in nuts and veggies… duh.. Depressed? Head to the sun. No sun? Invest in some fruits that contain serotonin or eat nutmeg or whatever…

            Food is medicine.. the problem with teenagers is all that soft drink and coffee and skinny diet that destroys their brain functions and make them feel depressed. This kind of depression needs only healthy diet. Clinical depression may need medication but it may not be serotonin. I HATE serotonin. I had them put it on my allergy chart even though I never had it! It better be off limit for me! And for everyone else too! Sorry for the long winded message here… biting my nails until my new computer arrives and angry at the world at the moment really madly!

          2. Ah, what’s in a name? A mental disorder is simply something which is different from what the folks in the street consider normal and is sanctioned by a few (licensed) clueless ones who wanted to make a name for themselves by writing the DSM-V, and also because they’re driven by a deep seated need to suck up to the mob.

            A note from the velvet underground (no, not the band, silly!): Normal is often sicker and more sickening than the disorder itself.

  2. Reblogged this on cluelessdoctors and commented:
    This story does not appear perhaps on the surface to have anything to do with clueless doctors but it does… Prozac? Really? How clueless is that! She was priceless.. her doctor is clueless.

  3. Okay I see your point about rules and categorization. The latter I always felt uncomfortable putting people in categories but that is my training. In medical school, I recall thinking psychiatry was nonsense….my thinking has not changed much.

    1. Psychiatry by itself isn’t necessarily nonsense. Like it is with democracy, communism, and justice for instance, the underlying idea is not bad, can even be great, but the execution of same mostly sucks big time.

  4. Angela, the suicide bombers, are not randomly selected and while they willing die their deaths and rejoice at killing others…I believe a study would reveal the underpinnings of terrorism tethered by feelings of helplessness coupled with extreme hatred.
    Extreme, uncontrollable feelings are pathological. People with sustained extreme feelings over prolonged periods, usually 6 months or more, have a mental disorder by definition.

    Fanatics have severe mental illness, not the ones found involuntarily hospitalized, or the ones misdiagnosed and pumped with unnecessary and harmful drugs.
    Not everyone with severe mental disorder deserves special consideration. Adults (defined as 30 and older ) who serially murder or shoot randomly into crowds sad to say are not remediable, so sane or insane does not matter.

    If our laws were interpreted and enforced consistently and fairly across races I would have no problem with capital punishment. However, many studies show significant inequities exists and accounts for the disproportionate number of blacks in prison.

    Btw, you are correct there are different types of suicide.

        1. Yes, I think it is possible. Studies have shown that to be the case. I just remember once, long time ago, my hubby and I went to some live concert–jazz I believe–and the couple in front of us… the woman was orgasmic all through… I do not believe that in such a state one is capable of functioning in anything else since the brain is on drugs and that takes priority and overrides logic and thinking. It cannot be any other way.

    1. “Extreme, uncontrollable feelings are pathological” I agree Angela. But this would bring 90% of the population of earth into this category who are not educated, still fully believe in god or some other magic and their thoughts are not theirs. Unfortunately we are the minority in our way of thinking. I have met several such pathological religious people and I must say that they are no different from a suicide bomber or a serial killer. Jones Town, etc. It is everywhere. Unfortunately people are vulnerable because they are always in search of the “ultimate answer” and it is hard ti accept that it does not exist. It is very hard to comprehend and even harder to accept that we are here for no reason at all, on the scale of the earth or the universe we are completely insignificant–except for the earth perhaps we are now a virus it wants to get rid of (and is doing a great job at getting rid of its parasites). So many people believe that they matter–like Sterling. He truly believes that he matters… but he doesn’t.

      I went to visit my best friend who came over for the weekend from St. Louis to her son and wife. We went to the mall that was an outdoor one by the beach. The wife spent (out of the blue for no reason at all) $600 on some neon green LuluLemon bras and a pink top, and then bought a $300 skirt at Bloomingdale. She comes from a family of the Sterlings’ type from Beverly Hills, parent with new convertible Bentley every year.. etc. Do you think they think they are important??? Do you think they think they are mentally ill??? I think that my answer is clear from my questions…

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