The Herald Bulletin

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Local Education

September 13, 2013

Looking for the signs

Pendleton father speaks about son's suicide to raise awareness

PENDLETON, Ind. — Fifteen-year-old Charlie Skiles, a student at Pendleton Heights High School, would often walk up to strangers and jokingly introduce himself as Batman, one of his favorite fictional heroes.

He loved to play video games, watch movies, fish, hike and hang with friends. He told Chuck Norris jokes that could "make you laugh your head off," said his dad, William Skiles.

"Charlie was such a great kid. He really was. He always came across as being upbeat and having a positive energy and a positive attitude," Skiles said.

"And he really did have the spirit of a hero, to reach out to other kids and help them out. He was always friendly, he was always smiling."

Charlie also suffered from depression. He was receiving counseling and taking anti-depressants but they weren't enough, Skiles recalled.

Charles "Charlie" Skiles committed suicide on Aug. 23.

"Everybody knew there was a little something wrong with him there the last few weeks," William Skiles said. "He just didn't seem quite as upbeat as he normally did. As far as anybody knowing how bad he had gotten, he didn't really show that to anybody."

Charlie's depression hit him hardest when he was 13, reaching a point where the family took him to the Anderson Center for treatment because he talked about hurting himself, Skiles said.

He did appear happier taking the anti-depressants, but Skiles wonders if Charlie just got better at hiding his mood. There's a notion that males have to be tough, he said, and if a guy can't handle the way he feels, it sometimes "eats at self-esteem, self-worth."

Skiles, who is divorced from Charlie's mother and visited with his son on weekends, said he'd seen signs that Charlie was struggling — he began cutting himself two weeks prior to the suicide, but that he just didn't know how bad it had gotten.

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