PORTLAND, Ore. (CNN) — Happy, loving, caring and funny.
Those are just some of the words family uses to describe Elijah Hauff.
“Elijah was a very good boy. He was very loving, very caring. He cared about people,” Elijah’s aunt, Salina Martinez said. “He’s just an amazing little boy and his life was taken too short.”
Earlier this week, at just 9-years-old, Elijah took his own life.
“Still shocked. I want it believe it’s a dream,” Martinez said. “I can’t get that image out of my head of him. It’s very sad.”
Martinez said Elijah was bullied and before this happened.
He opened up to his mom and the school.
“That he hated himself, that he did not feel loved,” Martinez said.
Even about his suicidal idealizations.
Since then, the district sent out a letter to parents letting them know what happened and providing services to kids at school.
Martinez said she’s glad counselors are available, but she can’t help but think what if.
“You should have had it before. You should have had it for the kids that needed it,” she said. “And that could have helped them. “I am glad that they have it here. I’m glad but its too late.”
She said she hopes going forward all parents and schools will talk to their children.
“Suicide is real,” she said. “And we think that its not and that people want attention and it’s not.”
In fact, specialists in the field of suicide prevention agree these conversations need to be happening much earlier in life, and that they could truly save lives.
If you or someone you know is suffering from suicidal thoughts you can call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-TALK (8255). Callers are routed to one of 163 crisis centers, where counselors answered 2.2 million calls last year.