Teen mental health: Family, friends still coming to grips with the passing of tenderhearted teen Mattison McLaurin

By Deb Hurley Brobst
Posted 12/3/19

 

OTHER STORIES:

Teen mental health: Issues have reached a crisis level in the foothills. …

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Teen mental health: Family, friends still coming to grips with the passing of tenderhearted teen Mattison McLaurin

Posted

 

OTHER STORIES:
Teen mental health: Issues have reached a crisis level in the foothills.
ttps://www.canyoncourier.com/content/teen-mental-health-issues-have-reached-crisis-level-foothills

Teen mental health: Transgender teen speaking out about anxiety, issues he faced. https://www.canyoncourier.com/content/teen-mental-health-transgender-teen-speaking-out-about-anxiety-issues-he-faced

Mattison McLaurin loved robotics, his truck and his dog Shadow.

The Evergreen High School senior was goofy, his sister Corynn’s best friend, his mother’s world — and people used the word tenderhearted often when speaking of him. He loved music, art and poetry.

But he also had issues: growing up in a military family that moved around a lot, making it difficult to make connections with others; his dad was away for long periods of time in service to the country; some learning issues; social anxiety; mental health issues; being bullied.

He also was friends with Kendrick Castillo, who was killed in the shooting at STEM School in Highlands Ranch in May, and that incident took its toll.

On Oct. 28, Matti took his own life, and the community came out to support him and his family, including a candlelight vigil along Main Street in downtown Evergreen.

His mom, Courtney Kline, couldn’t say enough about the support the family has received from the community.

Matti was active in Sources of Strength, a group at Evergreen High School that works to prevent suicide among teens.

Matti was heavily involved in Evergreen Rotary and attended RYLA — Rotary Youth Leadership Awards — conferences, especially helping the newer attendees get comfortable in the program.

He was a Boy Scout working on his Eagle Scout project to build and place benches in the community garden near the Buchanan Rec Center, and he liked to volunteer with the young Scouts, guiding them through earning badges and becoming good Scouts.

He had been canyoning, bungee jumping and scuba diving. He was a mountain biker and a snowboarder. He loved to help out at his mother’s business, Swim 4 Life.

His friends at his memorial service called him selfless, caring, a good listener, genuine, compassionate and an inspiration — saying he made them realize that life is what you make it.

“He was very caring,” dad Matt McLaurin said. “He didn’t have a lot of friends, but they knew that he cared about them, which is a unique quality.”

“Matt spoke when no one else would,” said Bill Manning at the memorial. “He told the world what he stood for.”

“He had an amazing life,” said Andrew Zajicek at the memorial. “He brought so many things to the community.”

Kline called Matti a gentle soul.

“When he was 4 or 5 years old, he came into the house. He told me, ‘Your eyes are like rubies,’ and he gave me a flower. He was so sincere. He would see something beautiful and say to me, ‘It’s not as beautiful as you are.’ Who says that?”

Matt McLaurin talked at the memorial about when Matti was born.

“I will always remember the July summer day you were born,” McLaurin said. “Your blue eyes would melt us. You were always my little man. It was wonderful to see you grow from a little boy into a young man.”

In August, Matti would have irrational episodes, and his guilt afterward would consume him, Kline said, wondering if the episodes were a result of his bipolar disorder or because of a vehicle accident that may have led to a traumatic brain injury or both.

Kline said he wrote letters apologizing and emphasizing that he loved his family.

“We would tell him, ‘I love you, buddy. This is not who you are. I will see you on the other side (of this episode),’” Corynn said.

Kline said Matti’s death is not anyone’s fault, and those who knew him shouldn’t blame themselves.

“What people don’t want to hear is that we put so much pressure on kids with mental illness,” Kline said. “We need to put a spotlight on mental illness and find ways to fix the problem.”

The family is still coming to grips with the loss of Matti.

“The shock is still there,” Kline said. “I think we have a better situation (than some other families) because we knew he loved us, and he knew we loved him.”

Corynn added: “But I don’t think he knew how much we needed him. He lived in the moment, and at that moment, there was too much going on for him to handle.”

Corynn and Kline are planning a three-month trip to Europe after Corynn graduates from Colorado Christian University in May.

“As a mom, I must balance the life-changing event of losing Matti with giving a life-changing event for (Corynn),” Kline said.

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