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San Antonio mother spreads awareness about mental health after teenaged son dies by suicide

Amy Grunder looked forward to celebrating her birthday with Noel, who had suggested going to see a movie. But now she's grieving and hoping to make a difference.

SAN ANTONIO — A San Antonio mother is spending the holidays without her son after he ended his own life one week ago. But t

“I don’t know how long it’s going to take me to heal but I know that I don’t care what it takes, I don’t care how many hours I spend, I don’t want anybody else to go through this again. It’s awful,” said Amy Grunder. 

Grunder was driving to work Nov. 15 when she received multiple calls from family wondering where she was. She learned her son, 18-year-old Noel Grunder, completed suicide in his apartment. 

“I was like, no. I was like no, no, no, all I could keep saying is no,” Amy said. “It’s not an enjoyable thing to know that your child was in so much pain that they didn’t reach out. He didn’t call, nothing and it’s hard as a parent because we’re supposed to protect our kids,” Amy said. 

Amy describes Noel as a 6-foot bright light of energy who loved helping others, especially the homeless community beginning when he was a child. 

“I don’t think anybody has a single picture where he’s not smiling. That smile, his goofy smile was what got everybody,” Amy said.

Noel lived with a form of bipolar disorder and struggled academically, although he had big ambitions to one day pursue his dream of becoming an aerospace engineer.

Amy felt Noel had a promising future, considering he moved into a newer apartment within the past year, was back in school and worked a job in the restaurant industry.

“On the outside he looked the happiest that he’s been in a long time,” Amy said.

While a giant piece of Amy’s soul is missing, she’s keeping strong as can be through her journey of grief and plans to become an advocate in some capacity to assist other teenagers who are struggling with mental health. She’s considered getting involved with a non-profit organization or even starting one herself. 

“I feel like a lot of people had let my son down. I remember when I was looking for a doctor, we couldn’t find any doctor anywhere, they were all booked up,” Amy said. “It was disturbing to me that there was so many teenagers that were having these issues right now and a lot of them, especially young men don’t reach out because they’re taught to suck it up.”

The road to healing begins with a conversation.

“Know that whatever you’re feeling, however dark it is, however lonely you are, you’re not alone.” 

Noel’s memorial service is set for Dec. 10 at 9:30 at Grace First Baptist Church in San Antonio (2514 Observation Dr.). 

Suicide the second-leading cause of death among people ages 15-24, according to the National Alliance on Mental Illness.

Call or text 988 any time of the day and week to speak with a mental health professional. The three-digit number launched in the summer and was previously known as the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. 

To learn more about mental health resources, go here.


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