EDEN PRAIRIE, Minnesota (FOX 9) – In life and in death, Jonas Wagner made a lasting impact on Eden Prairie High School’s class of 2023.
“He did a lot of sports, he was a great and very nice guy,” classmate Sophia Yoerks told FOX 9’s Babs Santos.
Wagner was at the center of his family’s world for 17 years—until his death by suicide just days after his 17th birthday. His passing left their hearts shattered, but the pain was felt far beyond their home.
“After he passed, there was a kind of tidal wave… it was a big shock,” Yoerks said. “It was hard for the school to get out of that.”
Jonas played in Eden Prairie’s jazz and marching bands. On Tuesday night, the community used a winter tire concert as a space to continue to struggle with the loss of a concert of their own. His classmates and bandmates are working hard to spread awareness about mental health in the school.
“Giving the students more resources and more places to go is about the most important thing we do,” Yoerks said. “We write about mental health in the schools, but the main focus is Jonas’s story.”
Experts say even more work needs to be done now due to the pandemic-related isolation of COVID-19.
“And what that means is an increase in depression and anxiety because they are unable to do what they normally do with friends,” M Health Fairview therapist Charlie Puttonen explained to Santos.
“If you’re struggling with mental health and if you’re struggling with suicidal thoughts, call someone, talk to someone,” Yoerks said.
If you or a loved one is at risk of suicide, here are resources to help.
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: The crisis center provides free, confidential emotional support to civilians and veterans 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255. Or text 741-741. Call 1-888-628-9454 for crisis support in Spanish.
Trevor Lifeline: Call 1-866-488-7386 for the TrevorLifeline, a suicide prevention counseling service for the LGBTQ community. Certified counselors are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. You can also speak to someone via text message or instant message.
Text line for crisis situations: Text HOME to 741741 to text confidentially with a trained crisis advisor. Advisors are available 24/7.