#LIFESaver Families Profile: Jocelyn "Jocey" Walters
What is your loved one’s full name:
Jocelyn “Jocey” Walters
What was their date of birth & their age at the time of their passing?
November 23, 2007; 14 years-old
Tell us about your loved one: What five adjectives best describe the positive they brought to this world, that now shines on in how they impacted you and all those they touched?
Jocelyn was beautiful, self-motivated , ambitious larger than life & a little nugget. She looked forward to going to college, was always very goal-oriented and was an overachiever in many ways. She was smaller than most in her age group and she actually was the youngest in her class; (because of her of her birthdate she was put into kindergarten w/ her older sister by 11 months Keira) which made her almost a full-year younger than everyone in her class, however she always excelled. She was always determined to prove herself – to never be left behind because she was smaller and younger than everyone in her grade.
To the extent that you feel comfortable, please tell us what you believe were the circumstances/contributing factors around your loved one’s passing.
Jocelyn had just won her division championship as the goalie with her Travel Soccer Club. She started her freshman year of high school with a new group of friends, and all seemed to be amazing. She had been nominated as the freshman “Homecoming Queen,” she started dating a boy from the group (who was Homecoming King for the freshman class)…she would later win an award at her first high school banquet dinner…one out of three awards given to the program that night and she was just a freshman goalie – she called it the “butt kiss award” as it was basically another “coach’s award” for those that go above and beyond on and off the field. She was always the “first one on and last one off!” willing to chip in when needed to run balls or help coach carry equipment back to the gym. She seemed to be truly living out the “high school experience” and all seemed to be great! There was then a falling out with a girl from the group which led to the “cancelling” of Jocey…trying to break up her relationship and anonymous posts and emails, chat rooms etc…everything to try and shame her or make her feel unwelcomed and make her doubt herself.
This led to an attempt and through the process, she was put on medication. She had shown over the summer she was back…like she had gotten through this battle and was in good spirits again. She grateful for the failed attempt and knew that she wanted to help others. She had been working at the Jersey Shore Boardwalk, making new friends and having new experiences and getting her spark back. Weeks before her sophomore year was to begin, we had to see a new doctor to manage her medication. He doubled up her medication and she left us two weeks later on Friday, 9/9/22.
What did you as a family wish you knew more about this topic in the year’s leading up to your loss?
I could say that the biggest thing may be the recognition of just how much damage was done to our youth during the “lockdowns”… and how this crushed an already flawed mental health system…and those that we trust w/ our children continue to fail us. When we speak out about the shortfalls, and try to change and improve the system, we are silenced.
Why did your family decide to go public about your loss, and why are you choosing to be so selfless in putting their/your story out there for others?
I will not allow my Jojo to become a statistic…to hear the words…”she is in a better place now”…”she doesn’t feel pain anymore,” “she was a very sad child.” Frankly to me is Bulls#@&! She had an amazing future ahead. She was the most coachable, teachable, well-mannered, kind young woman you’d ever meet. One of her friend’s fathers, and a dear friend of mine, always said (and continues to say) “she is his favorite human.”
I never doubted her success in whatever path she chose…so I feel that I need to be her voice and to do all that I can to not let this continue. Right now, I see a whole generation of kids hurting and lost… being ignored by the “adults in the room”…many of their school administrations, being used as a guinea pigs for these “medications,” and no accountability to the failures of a broken mental health system…not to mention the culture created by social media and these cell phones where no one seems to be accountable for what they do behind their “keyboards”…enough is enough!!
What are the perceptions about suicide you would like your loved one’s story to help change?
There is no “look” to suicide…my daughter was a three sport athlete, driven, motivated, never missed school or practice…she had many goals and plans for her future…something the textbooks would say is the complete opposite of those who “this” happens to…
Links and/or descriptions to any resources you would like to drive people to:
Instagram: 99.smiles_ & f.walters
Web: 99smiles.com (.org) joceysSmile.com (.org) thejocelynwaltersfoundation.com (.org) 99smilesinc.com (.org)