Mother of Late Former Student Wants to Help Others

The mother of a former Wilby High School student who died by suicide is forming a foundation to help other teens and children in Waterbury and beyond.

Maria Hulse is the mother of Jonah Guzman who tragically took his own life on April 9, 2019. She believes the best way to honor Jonah’s memory is to help others.

“It’s worth putting in the effort with having the correct resources,” Ms. Hulse said. “It could be beneficial because our youth need to be prepared for life and the numerous obstacles that they will face throughout it.”

Hulse, a parent-liaison in Waterbury Public Schools, said she is still in the planning stages of forming the foundation. Among its goals will be to educate youth on mental health disorders, suicidal thoughts and depression so that they will be able to find their worth. She said her goal is to start the program in the Waterbury school system – possibly starting with two schools – and eventually hit surrounding areas. 

No Simple Answer to Why

Researchers state there is no simple answer to why people commit suicide; people die by suicide for a number of reasons, including depression and various other reasons, according to the nonprofit organization Suicide Awareness Voices of Education, or SAVE, which works to prevent suicide nationwide. On the organization’s website, it states that a suicide attempt is a clear indication that something is gravely wrong in a person’s life, and that an estimated 90 percent of those were suffering with an underlying mental illness and/or substance abuse problem at the time of their death. 

No matter the race or age of the person, how rich or poor they are, it is true that most people who die by suicide have a mental illness, emotional disorder and/or chemical dependency, according to  the National Alliance on Mental Illness. The most common underlying disorder is depression, with an estimated 60 percent of suicides committed by people suffering from depression, according to the alliance.

Note: The above two links have information about how and where to get help if necessary. Article continues below.

“A Great Person”

Jonah was Ms. Hulse’s eldest son out of three. He was  exactly 17-and-a-half years old when he died. He also was a senior at Wilby and formerly played on its varsity football team. 

Jonah’s cousin, Chris Curry, said Jonah was more than a cousin to him.

“He was a brother,” Curry said. “He was such a great person; he would always put others before him. He had a glowing personality that could make anyone happy. The foundation is great because it’s an opportunity to do something Jonah loved and that was  giving back to the community and to people who were less fortunate.”

Friend Natasha Lindsey echoed those remarks.

“Jonah had a genuinely kind heart and a loving personality; he pushed everyone around him to

be the best version of themselves because he wanted them to make something out of themselves and not be a statistic,” Lindsey said. “This foundation is a complete door-opener for our youth to have someone to turn to and have somewhere to be able to express their feelings, judgment free, and to show them that their lives matter.”

Helping Others

Maria Hulse said she believes God gave her a gift in Jonah.

“And I hold it close to my heart,” she said. “The 17-and-a-half years I had with my beautiful son he showed me that life is what we make it, and he filled it with love that I will keep sharing. He was a truly special kid in so many ways and the best way was he loved helping others in any way possible. It shows us that no matter what we are going through, (you should) always help when you can.”