Livermore screens film on teen anxiety in memory of boy who died from suicide

On Monday, hundreds of people gathered to watch a special film screening of “Angst” at the Crosswinds Church in Livermore in memory of 14-year-old Zachary Nimmo who died of suicide. The documentary is centered around anxiety.

Many people in this audience knew Zachary. On the surface, the Amador Valley High School freshman loved fishing, soccer and lacrosse. Under the surface, he suffered severe anxiety. He ultimately took his own life on October 26.

“Anytime I see fishing that was our thing,” said Father Steve Nimmo. “We would just sit and talk fish together. It was our time. I see things of him all the time. It makes me miss him so much.”

His family was blindsided by his death.

“For my brother, I always knew he was shy around people,” said Sister Samantha Nimmo. “You could definitely tell that he did a really good job of hiding how stressed out all the time he was and he needed help.”

“Angst” is a 45-minute documentary raising awareness around anxiety. It was released last year by Indieflix Foundation. 

Scilla Andreen is the executive producer, inspired to open the conversation after her friend died by suicide.

“I knew I had to make a film about mental health,” said Andreen. “It had to be filled with resources and tools and hope. It had to appeal to families and educators and schools.”

The film chronicles a series of real-life stories, including that of swimming superstar Michael Phelps who shares his personal struggle with anxiety.

“I think if parents are having concerns, then that's the time to reach out,” said Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist Vanessa Varrelman. 

Experts said the holidays can be an anxiety-provoking time of year given family dynamics. Warning signs include withdrawal from normal activities and wanting to spend more time alone.

Zachary Nimmo saw the film two days before his death. His family believes had they watched it sooner it could have saved his life. 

“Had we seen it earlier, it could have,” said Father Steve Nimmo. “There’s so much hope in the film. We don't think anyone should have to go through this. It is treatable. We just need to reach out and help each other.”

There will be six screenings in the Bay Area from now until February. The family will host another free screening on February 20 at the John Paul II Activity Center in Pleasanton and hope to start a foundation in Zachary’s name.