After Kocmond ran away the first time, he saw two psychologists and a psychiatrist.
“What did they tell you?” asked NBC Charlotte’s Sarah French.
“They told us he was an existential thinker and that he had deep thoughts and strong thoughts, but that was normal for a teenager,” said his dad, who is a pediatrician. “He was impulsive but not nearly a threat to himself. They reassured us that over and over, and three of them told us the same things in that regard.”
“I was never told, ‘We’ve diagnosed him with depression,’” Kocmond’s mom added.
This seemed like good news to the parents.
“It allowed us to be a little bit less attentive to him,” his dad said. “At the same time, it reassured us that he was normal, it devastated him that this is what he was going to have to live with.”
Because he was having such a hard time at school, the Kocmonds allowed their son to switch from Providence High to Providence Day.
“Sorta booster his mental health,” his mom said. “As a parent, saying I will do anything to make you happy.”
Things seemed to get better at first; Kocmond joined the football team.
“He was much happier,” his dad said. “I think the thing that he liked more than anything was a team atmosphere and being around other kids.”
He was also a Boy Scout.
“As soon as he got to the meetings, he lit up and he thrived,” said his dad. “He was the senior patrol leader.”
However, Kocmond’s football season came to an early end. He suffered a concussion and started getting headaches.
“We quickly took him to a concussion specialist who actually showed that it was affecting cognition as well as his mood,” said his dad said.
With that, a decision was made.
“Certainly, we were not going to have him play football again. Underneath, he didn't reveal to us the turmoil that he was going through. Or the acceptance or despair,” said Kocmond’s dad. “The extent of that was unfathomable.”
“It seemed like he had dug himself into an emotional hole that he did not recover from,” his mom said.
“What seems so obvious now was not at the time,” said his dad.
However, they pressed on, asking their son if he was having suicidal thoughts.
“He was adamant. I mean, to a point of like, how dare you even accuse me of thinking something like that?” his mom said.