To reach a suicide prevention hotline, call 888-568-1112 or 800-273-TALK (8255), or visit suicidepreventionlifeline.org.
Some of the people who were closest to Klarissa Nye in the year before she died at the Penobscot County Jail are holding a celebration of her life on Wednesday.
After Nye died of a suspected suicide Jan. 20, her friends are also urging anyone who may be facing their own mental health struggles to seek help.
Nye had ups and downs in the final year of her life, according to people who befriended her at Together Place Peer Run Recovery Center in Bangor, an organization that supports people recovering from substance use disorder and dealing with mental health challenges.
She first sought the services of Together Place late in 2018 after finishing a stay in the Penobscot County Jail, according to Program Director Jacquie Wilks.
At the time, Nye was staying at the Bangor Area Homeless Shelter, but she eventually found housing. She had also lost custody of her kids and was not in close touch with some of her other relatives.
But the people at Together Place soon became a surrogate family for Nye, who was 33 when she died. On her best days, she was a bubbly, wisecracking presence who liked to model her new clothes, seek home decorations and help others connect with recovery resources.
But Nye could also seem “lost” and “depressed,” said one of her friends at the center, Jessica Mayhew. Besides losing custody of her kids, she also struggled with the death of one of her sons in 2016, and she was “devastated” in August after her then-boyfriend was badly injured in a suspected assault in Second Street Park, according to Wilks.
This week, Nye’s photo was attached to a bulletin board at the front of Together Place, which is located at the intersection of Second and Union streets. The board also advertised the public celebration of life that will be held for her at noon Wednesday.
“We all loved her,” said Mara Cerqueira, a peer support specialist at the center. “She had her issues, but she had a heart of gold. As someone who didn’t have much, she’d give you her last penny.”
“The members here have all been shattered by this,” Wilks said. “They’ve all been very upset over this.”
Nye’s family also plans to hold a service for her in the spring, according to her obituary.
Her father, Michael Perry Sr. of Brewer, said that he had not spoken with her in a while and that he was saddened by her death. She attended schools in Glenburn and Bangor during her childhood. While she could be “a real smarty pants” as a kid, Perry said, “she was pretty decent most of the time.”
According to state records, Nye had a criminal record that included convictions for drug possession, theft and other misdemeanors, as well as a Class C felony charge of illegal possession of a firearm.
Around 1:45 p.m. Jan. 20, Nye was found unresponsive in the bathroom of a cell at the Penobscot County Jail after she was arrested Jan. 17 on three charges of failing to appear in court, according to the Penobscot County Sheriff’s Office. The Bangor Fire Department came to the jail, but officials were not able to save her life.
Authorities suspect that Nye died by suicide and continue to investigate what happened, the sheriff’s office has said. A representative for the office did not respond to a request for more information Tuesday.
Wilks emphasized that there are resources available to people who are experiencing suicidal thoughts or who have attempted suicide, including a support group offered by Together Place.
“Suicide is a real thing,” she said. “It’s something that a lot of people think about. There is help out there. Seek help, please. We’re here to help.”