Midstate mother fights for 11-year-old son’s life after he contemplates suicide

A midstate mother is sharing her son’s troubling story in an attempt to help other children.

Barbara Martinez told FOX 17 News that at just 11 years old, her son is contemplating suicide.

“My son is only 11, and he’s being bullied to the point that he wants to take his own life,” Martinez said.

Sergio is in 6th grade at Jere Baxter Middle School in Nashville. His mother says he’s been severely bullied since he was seven.

Sergio’s told his mom that he wants to end his life and even talks about how he’d do it.

“It just crushes you as a parent, to hear your child say that, and to just know that they have those thoughts,” Martinez said.

Barbara told FOX 17 Sergio tied a string from his hooded sweatshirt around his neck to choke himself last week at school.

She also recently found several cut marks on his arm.

Barbara said she found a drawing of a gravestone was found in one of Sergio’s school notebooks. His name, and a specific date were on it.

Recently, Sergio started seeing a therapist again.

“I’m really scared that I’m going to lose my son,” Martinez said. “But now that I have stepped up and I’ve done what I needed to do, I know my son’s not going anywhere. He’s going to be here with me, because I’m going to fight for him. I’m going to fight this for my son.”

Dr. David Patzer with the Mental Health Cooperative in Nashville told FOX 17 about 15 percent of youth engage in self-harming behavior to cope with their negative emotions.

That’s where professional counseling can help.

“Children, it’s often more of a temporary thing, and they just don’t know other ways, it hasn’t occurred to them,” Dr. Patzer said. “So you’re kind of teaching them just ways to deal with the world and with their emotions.”

It’s a lesson that Barbara hopes her son can learn through therapy and support.

“We need more caring, more reaching out, just being there for our children, for other children,” Martinez said. “Standing up, and just being that voice that they need, because right now, they feel like they have no voice.”

Metro Nashville Public Schools spokesperson Dawn Rutledge said the Jere Baxter Middle School principal spoke with Sergio’s mother yesterday about the concerns with her son.

“The district takes the health and safety of its students very seriously and has identified social-emotional learning as an issue in which resource and training has been provided to help support both students and teachers. Jere Baxter has a STARS counselor, a restorative counselor as well as a school counselor who all work to support the social-emotional needs of students,” Rutledge said.


Mental Health Co-Op

Crisis Team is available 24/7 at 615-726-0125 or 855-274-7471 (toll free)

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National Suicide Prevention Lifeline



TN Department of Mental Health & Substance Abuse Services Mobile Crisis Center

Call 855-CRISIS-1 (855-274-7471) and you will be routed to a trained crisis specialist in your area.