Ray Romano Mourns After ‘Everybody Loves Raymond’ Star Sawyer Sweeten’s Suicide At 19: Why Child Stars Are At Risk

Ray Romano remains in mourning for Sawyer Sweeten after the former Everybody Loves Raymond child actor took his own life at age 19. With Ray playing his father and Sawyer portraying his son for almost a decade, the two became close, and Romano is grieving the inexplicable loss, reported the Daily Mail.

After learning about the suicide of his young friend on Thursday, Ray remained in seclusion, only leaving his home to attend a charity fundraiser on Sunday. It was Romano who, although the show no longer continues, took on the role again as “family head” by leading the tributes for Sawyer.

Joined by his daughter Alexandra and wife Anna, the 57-year-old did take time for a charity event. Sponsored by menswear designer John Varvatos, the fundraiser focuses on funding Stuart House, which helps sexually abused children.

But it was not only Ray Romano who is mourning the child star and trying to understand Sawyer’s tragic suicide, as the Inquisitr reported. Sweeten’s manager, Dino May, also expressed his grief and attempted to explain why he never saw signs that the teenager was troubled or at risk for problems such as depression or drug abuse.

“Everybody was shocked. [There was] no depression, no nothing. He was a good kid. Teenage stuff, but no depression, no signs or anything. [He wasn’t] doing drugs or… anything like that… just a great, very quiet, very shy kid.”

But now Dino, along with Sawyer’s twin brother Sullivan, who, together with their big sister Madylin, acted on Everybody Loves Raymond from age 1 to age 10, are seeking answers. The twins had been on hiatus for a long period, taking time away from Hollywood.

So many child stars become troubled teens who, in the most extreme situations, take their own lives as Sawyer did, and it’s their early experience of fame that puts them at risk, said trauma psychologist Charles Figley, chair of disaster and mental health at Tulane University, to Yahoo Health.

“They often go from the height of fame to the depth of living without it,” pointed out the psychologist. “It’s more than the rest of us have to face.”

Moreover, while they live their young lives in the spotlight, these child stars are protected and thus do not have the opportunity to grow and achieve essential life skills, confirmed John Mayer, a clinical psychologist.

“These kids are kept from the developmental skill building that most kids go through to make them capable adults. Such things as learning about rejection, loss, transitions, and the process of identity development are in limbo while the production companies unknowingly shelter them from those natural struggles a child or teen needs to go through.”

Mayer expressed concern that the child stars never learn how to cope with life because they are so shielded by the production companies, just as Sawyer was growing up on the set of Everybody Loves Raymond.

As a result, he says, these children don’t get the normal coping mechanisms that will help them get through the bumps and bruises of life as they get older. “They become ill-equipped, often dysfunctional adults,” added Mayer.

[Photo By Kevin Winter/Getty Images]