Reflections on Growing Up in Severna Park, Mental Illness, Coming Out and Suicide Attempts

“Just Breathe”

“I deeply think I could benefit this community around mental health,” wrote Koda Cavey, in an email to me. “I was a Severna Park kid that attempted suicide, ended up in Sheppard Pratt and then forgotten. I am 25 years old now and completely stable and would love to share my experience of how I became healthy. As similarly stated in your article, the pressure to succeed in Severna Park at a too young of a age is terrifying. I believe we are teaching these SP kids that we have to make $100,000 a year to be anyone … that goal is very unrealistic. ”

I called Koda and listened to his story. And because I think Koda is right about his story possibly helping other people, that maybe it can save lives, I decided to revisit the series I began two years ago – about the adolescent suicide problem in Severna Park.

The interview you’ll hear below is Koda’s story and because his mom, Lisa Hanzook, is part of it, you’ll hear from her too. Though it’s a painful coming of age story, it is one of perseverance and survival. Koda’s tattoo sums it up. “Just Breathe” – even with an irregular heartbeat.

For information on Anne Arundel County Crisis Response visit,

Hotlines for families and youth
Call 911 for immediate assistance in any emergency

Anne Arundel County Crisis Warmline
24 hours a day, 7 days a week

Maryland Youth Crisis Hotline
24 hours a day, 7 days a week
National Suicide Prevention Hotlines
1-800-SUICIDE (784-2433)
1-800-273-TALK (8255)

Anne Arundel County Public Schools Student Safety Hotline
24 hours a day, 7 days a week

SAMHSA Disaster Distress Helpline
Text: “TalkWithUs” to 66746

The organizations in Severna Park listed below focus on suicide prevention and education:

Parenting for a Different World

Ellie’s Bus

Burgers and Bands for Suicide Prevention

One Reply to “Reflections on Growing Up in Severna Park, Mental Illness, Coming Out and Suicide Attempts”

  1. Thanks for featuring this story! Koda’s mom is a friend, and a lovely person. In a family, the ability to adjust and let kids be who they are can be a sadly absent commodity. Thanks for providing an example to follow.

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