GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) - A West Michigan sophomore created a viral video that's garnering national headlines. The message? Those who suffer from depression or have suicidal thoughts should get help.
"It was like all these emotions, I guess, and stuff that I was building up, and kind of just let it out," said Brand.
Kaitlin Brand told 24 Hour News 8 it took her only about five minutes to think of what she wanted to say and write it down on slips of paper. The video itself lasted only about four minutes.
"Everything just came off perfect," said Pete Brand, Kaitlin's dad. "It's almost like there was some guidance happening behind the scenes to make the message come out the way it did."
About halfway into Kaitlin's YouTube video, she shrugs. The 16-year-old sophomore takes a deep breath and then shows viewers her secret:
Watch the video:
Kaitlin's mom committed suicide in October. Kaitlin was the one who found her mom in the woods behind their home.
"I found her and it didn't feel real at all," Kaitlin told 24 Hour News 8.
Instead of blaming anyone or getting angry, Kaitlin decided she wanted to do something positive to remember her mom and help others.
"She always told me that she loved it when I smiled and I made her day better," Kaitlin said, smiling while remembering her mom. "So I thought if I was smiling, even when I should be hurting, it's making her proud in heaven and she's looking down smiling back at me."
Kaitlin wants to spread the message that anyone who is depressed like her mom was should get help.
So she made the video set to her mom's favorite song, "If I Die Young" by The Band Perry. Kaitlin told 24 Hour News 8 that her mom had said she wanted it played at her funeral if anything happened to her.
She first posted it on a Tumblr page, then on YouTube. She hoped to reach a few people -- maybe even someone like her mom.
"I thought I'd get maybe... maybe like 100 views," said Kaitlin.
The video hasn't even been up a month, and it has nearly 400,000 hits from all around the world.
And national television crews are calling and showing up at her house.
Kaitlin told 24 Hour News 8 the best part about all of the attention is all of the messages she's getting form people in countries she's never even heard of. Several people wrote comments to Kaitlin saying they knew someone who committed suicide and the video helped them get through it. Another said they had their suicide all planned out and changed their mind after watching her video.
The comments thank Kaitlin for her strength and the strength that she's given them through her video.
When asked if she wished her mom had seen a video like hers, Kaitlin responded that she did.
"I really wish [that] because I think that would have helped her a lot with her decisions," said Kaitlin.
Kaitlin said she hopes her mom would be proud of her.
She said she wants to be a counselor when she grows up and feels privileged that she can help people older than she is.
Related: "My Secrets Video" on YouTube - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ENZIaXjVAc4
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