Saoirse Kennedy Hill Wrote About Depression, Suicide Years Before Death

August 2, 2019 Updated: August 2, 2019

Former Sen. Robert F. Kennedy’s granddaughter Saoirse Kennedy Hill wrote about her battle with depression and taking her own life in a high-school newspaper, it was reported.

Hill, 22, died on the afternoon of Aug. 1 of an apparent overdose at her family’s home in Cape Cod, Massachusetts.

“My depression took root in the beginning of my middle school years and will be with me for the rest of my life,” Saoirse wrote in a 2016 piece for  Deerfield Scroll.

“Although I was mostly a happy child, I suffered bouts of deep sadness that felt like a heavy boulder on my chest,” she said. “These bouts would come and go, but they did not outwardly affect me until I was a new sophomore at Deerfield.”

In the paper, Hill said she began “isolating” herself in her room and began “pulling away” from her relationships with friends and family.

“We all know that some people find winter at Deerfield lonely, dark, and long,” she added. “During the last few weeks of spring term, my sadness surrounded me constantly. But that summer after my sophomore year, my friend depression rarely came around anymore, and I was thankful for her absence.”

Later, she said the sadness came back.

“My sense of well-being was already compromised, and I totally lost it after someone I knew and loved broke serious sexual boundaries with me,” Hill said. “I did the worst thing a victim can do, and I pretended it hadn’t happened. This all became too much, and I attempted to take my own life.”

After returning to school in the fall, Hill, the daughter of Courtney Kennedy Hill, “could not handle the stresses Deerfield presented.”

“I went to treatment for my depression and returned to the valley for my senior year,” she explained. “I didn’t care that students thought that I had left because of an eating disorder, or that I had been bullied, but it concerned me that my teachers and advisors didn’t know what I had been going through. Even though it was helpful for me to discuss my struggles with all of those important people in my life, it was still uncomfortable, and it was hard for me to take the initiative.”

Death Details

According to CBS News, she was slated to graduate from Boston College later this year.

The Kennedy family confirmed the death in a statement Thursday night following reports that a person had been found unresponsive that day at the storied Kennedy compound in Hyannis Port, Massachusetts, after police responded to a call about a possible drug overdose. The statement was issued by Brian Wright O’Connor, a spokesman for Saoirse Hill’s uncle, former congressman Joseph P. Kennedy II.

“She lit up our lives with her love, her peals of laughter and her generous spirit,” a family statement said, adding she was passionate about human rights and women’s empowerment and worked with indigenous communities to build schools in Mexico.

Suicide Hotlines

If you are in an emergency in the U.S. or Canada, please call 911. You can phone the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline on 1 800 273 8255. Youth can call the Kids Help Phone on 1800 668 6868.

In the United Kingdom, people can call Samaritans at 116 123, Papyrus at 0800 068 41 41, or Childline at 0800 1111.

In Australia, the suicide prevention telephone hotline at Lifeline is 13 11 14. You can also visit the Lifeline website at lifeline.org.au. Youth can contact the Kids Helpline by phoning 1800 551 800 or visiting headspace.org.au/yarn-safe

If you are in an emergency in India, call Befrienders India – National Association at +91 33 2474 4704.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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