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EARLY YEARS: A Christiansburg mom shares her story of grief and hope after her teenage daughter's suicide

Tracey Linkous is working to create a positive legacy for her daughter, Bri
Tracey Linkous is working to create a positive legacy for her daughter, Bri(WDBJ)
Published: Jun. 4, 2019 at 5:17 AM EDT
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The Facebook page, Living4bri celebrates sunrises, flowers and other images of beauty.

It's the legacy that Tracey Linkous wants for her daughter, Bri, who took her own life last year.

"I know how hard her struggle was, and I know that she really did not want to continue fighting this anymore. But that doesn't make it any easier to have your 16 year old child gone," says Linkous.

Linkous lost her daughter, Bri to suicide last year, after a battle with mental illness. She misses her daughter, especially the girl she used to be.

"She loved riding her bike. She loved being in the water. She loved her cat and she was just really, really happy until she just wasn't."

The trouble started when Bri entered middle school, and started suffering from depression.

It was also around that time that she was diagnosed with Type One Diabetes.

"It was like the perfect storm of the teenage emotions, and then depression, and the diabetes. It was like, everything," says Linkous.

Linkous realized it Bri's struggle was even more serious when she started cutting herself.

"So of course immediately, the next day we went to the doctor and started the process of therapists and doctors and psychiatrists, and it just kind of spiraled downhill from that point."

Later came Bri's diagnosis of bi-polar disorder.

Her internal battled, along with the pressures of social media proved to be too much for her.

Her mom says Bri had attempted suicide several times before carrying it out.

"She was actually hospitalized three months before she died. She was very determined that she could not live in this world anymore.

Of course, I would always tell her what we always tell our children, how much I love her and how much I need her and that it would absolutely destroy me if anything happened to her, and it did."

For a year after Bri's suicide, Linkous says she spent nearly 20 hours a day in bed.

Grief kept her from functioning, and also put her in the hospital.

"Te only thing that the hospitalization really helped me with was just realizing that I'm never going to be okay, and just being able to accept that."

With that acceptance comes her mission to raise awareness about teen depression and suicide.

Her hope is that she can save another mom from a similar fate.

Sharing Bri's story has brought messages from all over the world.

"I think they just wanted to know that there was somebody else they could talk to that understood because they felt the same way. They felt isolated and like nobody understood what they're going through."

What's keeping her going now is making sure that Bri's legacy offers a bit of hope to someone else.

She's now created a scholarship for a Christiansburg High School student in Bri's name.

"I have to make sure she has a legacy. I want her to be remembered, and I want to do this scholarship to carry on in her name, because it's all I've got left of my baby girl."

You can learn more about Bri's story, and the scholarship, by checking out the Facebook page, Living4bri.

The scholarship fund is being managed by the Community Foundation of the New River Valley.

To apply for the scholarship, or to make a donation, click on the links to the right of this story.

Email cfnrv@cfnrv.org, or call 540-381-8999 if you have any questions.

If you or someone you know is struggling, please call the

Suicide prevention hotline, 1-800-273-8255

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