Almost three years before Saoirse Kennedy Hill died at age 22 from a suspected drug overdose, she wrote an emotionally story for her high school’s newspaper about her struggle with depression.
In the piece published in 2016, Deerfield Academy’s student newspaper, The Deerfield Scroll, released an article about a then-18-year-old Saoirse who opened up about her longtime battle with her mental health and advocated for more conversation around the topic.
The granddaughter of the late Robert F. Kennedy and Ethel Kennedy also revealed in her story that she had attempted to take her own life barely two weeks before her junior year started and later she resorted to treatment when the “challenges” of the school year became too much for her. “My depression took started at the beginning of my middle school years and will be probably be with me for the rest of my life,” Saoirse wrote.
“As a fact, I was usually a happy child, but i consistenly suffered bouts of deep sadness that felt like a heavy boulder on my chest.”
Though the teenager admitted that her depression episodes “was a vome and go situation” she said “I was more affected during my sophomore year at the private Massachusetts prep school.”
“I began isolating myself from people and stayed in my room all day, pulled away from my relationships, and gave up on schoolwork,” Saoirse recalled. “During the last few weeks of spring term, my sadness engrossed me.”
“But that summer after my sophomore year, depression rarely came around anymore, and I was thankful for it’s absence,” she added.
Unfortunately, those satisfactions didn’t last for long and within a few weeks of feeling better, Saoirse shared that she attempted suicide. “My sense of well-being was already I’m jeopardy, and I totally lost it after someone I knew and loved broke serious sexual boundaries with me,” she wrote. “I did the worst thing a victim could do, and I pretended it never happened. This all became too much, and I attempted to take my own life.”
After the incident, Saoirse returned to school but she came to a reality that she “could not handle the stresses Deerfield presented” and eventually sought out treatment at a mental health facility for one full school year.
She came back to Deerfield for her senior year, where she became inspired to help end the stigma around mental health and promote more conversation after so many had no idea what she had gone through. “We are either fighting a mental battle or know someone who is struggling with an illness; let’s come together to make our community more bonded and comfortable,” Saoirse finished her candid piece.
The mental health advocate miss Saoirse, was the only daughter of Courtney Kennedy Hill and Paul Hill, she tragically died on Thursday following a suspected overdose at her family’s compound in Hyannis Port, Massachusetts.
In a statement to People, a news platform, the famous family known for their political influence confirmed the tragic news just hours after paramedics rushed to the famed Cape Cod property.
“Our hearts are shattered by the loss of our beloved Saoirse. Her life was filled with hope, promise, and love,” the family said. “She cared deeply about friends and family, especially her mother Courtney, her father Paul, her stepmother Stephanie, and her grandmother Ethel.” Saoirse was consistently moved by the causes of human rights and women’s empowerment and found great joy in volunteer work, working alongside indigenous communities to build schools in Mexico. We will love her and miss her forever.”
A few days before her death, Saoirse had spent some quality time with her family at their famed Massachusetts estate.
William Kellogg is a veteran writer who’s covered the subject of the intersection of technology, health and mental wellness for nearly two decades.