May 26 – ‘BEING BOLD’ and talking about adolescent suicide

I am going to BE BOLD tonight and write about a subject that I have stayed clear from.

The topic is one of controversy up here in Canada I believe as we are afraid of the contagion effects of ‘teen suicide’ as was written about in by the Canadian Medical Association this week.  An  article was posted tonight from the U.S. titled “Teens suicide highlights issues painful complexities” or “Ending the silence about suicide”.  Same article .. different titles.   Topic of conversation – Suicide Prevention vs the Contagion Effect.

How to start the discussion.  I screenshot some excerpts from the U.S. article that popped out at me.  Adolescent suicide doesn’t always occur because of bullying.  It is a misconception.  There are other factors involved.  As a parent of a child who took her own life, I think it is important to talk about the subject.  Both at home, as a community and in school.  The kids need to know that they are not alone.  They need to know that they can talk to someone about their problems.  They need to know that TAKING THEIR LIFE IS NOT THE ANSWER.  I am not an expert in psychology but I have talked to enough kids in the past 8 months.  Many are afraid to talk to someone about what they are feeling.  They feel alone and scared.  They feel they can’t talk to their parents.  Why can’t there be suicide prevention discussions.  Why is it that in  this 24 hour span, I have had two teen message me saying that they are feeling so depressed that they are scared.  I convinced one to go to the Kids Help Phone. He was scared to but finally did.  He wouldn’t call them but went on the on-line chat.  It took him some time to get through.  Then it shut down due to the time limitations.  This boy wouldn’t call as he didn’t want to ‘talk’, he only wanted to type.  He would have been good with texting also.  The other teen just needed someone to listen and needed some sleep.

I can say that as a parent of Amanda, it was scary to talk about the subject as I too was afraid that it would put ideas in her head.  BUT .. the ideas were already in her head.  She needed the talks to let her know she wasn’t alone.  She often shared with me that she felt like the only person with depression/anxiety until she found others on the internet.  She asked for support groups in our community but I couldn’t find any.  She said that she wanted to talk to others who felt the same way as her.

So why can’t we talk about mental health with our adolescents more than we do.  It shouldn’t be a dark bubble we keep hidden away.  It seems like the more that happens, the quieter it gets.  Can our government put more funding into Child/Youth Mental Health around the province?  Can they bring back the $$ that were cut back last October?   Why is it that there seems to be more kids that are anxious or depressed?

For crying out loud … it’s like teaching Safe Sex to our kids.  It needs to be done!!!  So if we don’t talk about it in the school, should it be done only at home?  Or the teens with their peers?  I have had so many kids feel so guilty about not helping or being there for Amanda.  It shouldn’t be that way.  Amanda became ashamed at talking about it because she was afraid of being called the ‘C’ or the ‘P’ word.  It is not Amanda that should have been ashamed.  It should have been the kids that  used those words.  If we discussed and taught life lessons surrounding this, then maybe kids wouldn’t call others ‘crazy’ or ‘psycho’ and eventually stigmatize them to themselves and others.

If you are a teenager reading this blog post, please make a comment to it or to me personally.

Screen Shot 2013-05-26 at 12.35.10 AM Screen Shot 2013-05-26 at 12.35.51 AM Screen Shot 2013-05-26 at 12.36.49 AM Screen Shot 2013-05-26 at 12.37.10 AM

 

Please look at the titles on the links:

http://www.kjonline.com/news/teens-suicide-highlights-issues-painfulcomplexities_2013-05-25.html?pagenum=2

http://www.pressherald.com/news/ending-the-silence-about-suicide_2013-05-26.html?pageType=mobile&id=1

http://www.ctvnews.ca/health/new-research-finds-evidence-of-suicide-contagion-among-canadian-teens-1.1290264

FACTS AND CAUSES – http://bodyandhealth.canada.com/condition_info_details.asp?disease_id=135

 

On the positive side, I was ‘BEING BOLD’ today.  Here is one of the pics:

IMG_1995400789_10151225894819889_1803826057_n

All true descriptors of my Princess Snowflake ….

Love both my kids with all my heart .. xoxo

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About Carol Todd

Being the mother of Amanda Todd has lead me on this journey shortly after Amanda's death on October 10, 2012. Amanda's prolific You Tube video has been viewed over 33 million times. Through this video, there has been an increased awareness about cyberbullying, social media safety and mental health. www.amandatoddlegacy.org
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15 Responses to May 26 – ‘BEING BOLD’ and talking about adolescent suicide

  1. Savetheworld says:

    Mental illness is on the rise 25% of the population suffers from it. It is a brain chemistry disorder. When I was a young and going through a very difficult time with anxiety and depression there were no meds. Doctors family would say “it’s all in your head stop thinking about it” unfortunately it doesn’t work that way. Thank God for medication. It’s what got me through my anxiety and then later phobias etc I believe mental illness is on the rise because of more stress in our lives and the lack of physical activity. It affects your brain. Technology has also allowed people to be cruel hiding behind fake personas with no repercussions. Young kids already have a difficult time with being a teenager now imagine adding cruel comments etc. of course it’s going to cause them much anxiety and distress! This is why it is imperative that something be done to remedy this dangerous situation! Keep up the great work Carol!! Xoxo

    Like

  2. Hamsi says:

    The problem with mental illness is that it is as much of a reality as physical illness but mentally ill people don’t have the “luxury” of having their illness be openly manifest…..they have to go on as though nothing is wrong with them. Hopefully as conversations begin on this topic this will no longer be the case.

    On another note, lovely picture of Amanda, Carol! Also very apt words on the other one that describe her.

    Like

  3. Gemma says:

    To la punisher:
    Thanks for the reply 🙂 today was one of my better days. I’ve been reading this for the last few months, wanting to comment, but thinking, ‘no, I don’t really know much on this subject’, but last night I did 🙂
    Thankyou, Gemma

    Like

  4. Paul K says:

    Nicely formulated blog tonight Carol.Good to see some new posters coming into the discussion to share their experiences.Taboo walls being breached thru openess and conversation.I like your pictures at the end,too.I always wanted to see “Amanda Panda”.I wish I could give her a”bear” hug.

    Like

  5. Hi Carol, thank you for posting this subject and being a proponent for change. When my son, Willie ,passed away I was stunned that the school counselor refused to publicly acknowledge his death within the school. She supported the individual kids efforts to connect and let each other know about his service but she said they don’t “advertise” suicides “for obvious reasons”. While I understand that in some way… I had kids coming to me via facebook and emails saying how hard it was for them to not see his passing acknowledged by the school district that he had been a part of since kindergarten (he was in grade 11 when he died by suicide).
    While suicide contagion is a documented fact we also have to realize that we need to be there, as a community, for the kids left to grieve their friends when this happens. We are past the point of believing that talking about it will cause it but apparently not when it applies to the “after” it happens. Blogs like this will help I hope.

    Like

  6. namedallas says:

    I like this (She siad that she wanted to talk to others who felt the same way as her.) as I wrote before my counselor had told me not to talk to other kids about being in counseling because they wouldn’t understand,it certanly has a way of making you feel like your in a catagorly all on your own.So having someone like minded to talk to is huge.

    Like

  7. la Punisher says:

    Beautiful words on the pic. Carol, as for the other pic, The smile and the flower really go together, a perfect picture, What a sweet child, That smile could brighten the whole world.

    Hugz 2U

    Like

  8. merle48 says:

    Back in college days, my teacher who was a clinical psychologist by day, taught our class for “Abnormal Psychology.” As some things just never leave ones mind, I still remember quite clearly how he addressed our class about the different chapters we would be learning about in our books. There was a rather lofty section on suicide and when he spoke of this chapter, he made it quite clear that we would NOT be discussing suicide that semester…and i sensed a heaviness in his words…maybe they “hit too close to home” I thought. I did not really venture into that section until my own children reached the age where these words, “I’m gonna kill myself” became household phrase when “problems” arose. Reading something as opposed to applying strategies, are two entirely different elements. In my family, i am the more understanding one, and I never like to push the “cry wolf” aspect of such dire situations. My other half would just get annoyed at the “whining” as he called it, and say something such as, “Go ahead! Go kill yourself! Believe me he didn’t mean it, however, he could not control himself when he would hear one of his kids “whining.” I would immediately knock him down a rung or two, by seriously explaining that they just might carry through with it…especially on a dare. The only RULE I can stand by in these situations is NEVER, EVER call someones bluff on suicide! Other than this rule, I have much to learn in order to help others, however, these kids/adults need someone/someplace to be able to share and trust their feelings with…and not be ridiculed or undermined for doing so.

    Like

    • la Punisher says:

      To merle48: I can relate to your story, And don’t get me wrong, What I’m about to say worked for me and I’m not saying it will work for anyone else, Nor am I saying that it might be an answer, Anyway here is what happened….
      Having dinner in a restaurant with my eldest son who was everyday talking or attempting suicide, the subject was brought up by him that he was going to do it, At that point I had enough, I looked him straight in the eye and said, ” I have had enough of your bullshit, All you do is look for pity and sympathy from your family, and you put everyone thro’ hell with your crap, Do us all a favor and do it, Get it over with so we can move on… But dad I just want to prepare you for it… I am prepared, do it’
      It’s been four or five months since that conversation happened, I have never heard another word about it, He has even become more positive and having a better outlook on life and even finds beauty in life and being alive…Amen 2 that
      I had to question myself after I said that ” OMG, did I say the right thing ” but as Carol said in her post…( it was scary to talk about the subject as I too was afraid that it would put ideas in her head ). I to was like that, always walking on egg shells, feeling sorry for him that he had to go thro that to the point where I had to put it back on his plate.. But it could come back to bite me

      This is not an answer to a very serious problem, We need more help for our young people and our older ones too.. Please No One Should Try What I Gambled On, It More Than likely Will Back Fire On You

      Like

      • merle48 says:

        To la Punisher, I don’t know if I’ll ever get out the door to run today…I’m in such a “writing” mode after reading this blog! haha Anyhow, you speak from your heart as we all do here. I’m not perfect either, although I’ve come close to handling it as you have…but the little voice in my head says, “Stop, just in case”…and then i get thoughts of them really going through with it and how I would be devastated, and this keeps me from saying what my anger dictates. I’d also like to add that my son isn’t like this, but the two girls are, although their personalities differ greatly. One has bi-polar tendencies although not properly diagnosed, the other one is simply depressed at times as we all are, and I believe these words, “I’m going to kill myself,” are so common these days as it’s heard too commonly in conversations, is easier for her to say than, “I NEED SOMEONE TO REALLY LISTEN TO ME!” That means with no judgement, interruptions, or know-it-all advice…just an open ear! That means with no judgement, interruptions, or know-it-all advice…just an open ear! The one with bi-polar tendencies must be treated differently as she is truly a drama queen, but once again I NEVER behave as if it were a joke.

        Like

      • la Punisher says:

        To merle48…Thanx for having me read the same sentence twice hehe, Yeah, Families really go thro’ hell when this kind of problems occur, Its funny we are in 21st century but our help and understanding is stuck in the 18th century when it comes to mental issues, Go run now while you have a chance and have a super day

        Like

      • merle48 says:

        Oops, double-posted a sentence or two…I DO NOT CARE FOR LAPTOPS! haha

        Like

  9. Gemma says:

    Hi carol, you asked for a reply from a teenager, so here it is..
    I think that you’re doing an amazing job, you’ve been through so so so much in the last 8 months.
    As a teenager, I have suffered from depression, I’m in the recovery stage, but I’m nearly finished it, I still have my good days and bad days as we all do. I was suicidal for a few months, I was scared to speak to my mum about it, but after talking to my counsellor, I felt like I could. My mum took it well (she’s a nurse and deals with that stuff), and said that it was to be expected considering what I’ve been through since September 26th last year (extreme bullying, physical and verbal assault, manipulation, all from one person, and because of them, a loss of two close friendships). I’m okay now though, I still am a bit ‘bad’ at times, but I usually let my parents know when I am.
    Anyway, you’re doing so well. I hope you’re feeling okay. Amanda will never be forgotten. Rest in paradise princess snowflake. xoxo

    Like

    • la Punisher says:

      To Gemma: Thank you for sharing your feelings, I hope you will continue to come back many, many many times more, It is so nice to hear from a teenager…We all care and we all share.
      About the loss of your two close friendships, The Reality is..”REAL FRIENDS” don’t abandon you, no matter what
      This is a beautiful world, But some people just can’t stand beauty and try to make it ugly
      Again Thank you and please come again

      Like

  10. jag72 says:

    I’m not a teenager but depression keeps coming.

    What seems strange is that we attract each other.
    Yes have done nothing for Amanda touches me a lot too.

    Why this is so whether we can seduce a person.
    We are all of the reign annimal but why be at the forefront of prehistoric man?

    When I see a young person is the joy and beauty of a face that I feed.
    See good people to forget the sadness in the eyes of my children.

    On Youtube channels there are so many young people of all countries with talent in surprising domainnes.

    Singing, fashion, makeup (for girls of course).
    Amanda would have had the chance to make us videos on safety Quad.
    so possible subjects.

    An eternal need to travel via the Internet. My escape.
    I watched a lot of videos on youtube of motorcycles.

    Thank you for this motorbike ride from yours facebook page.
    Canada is a large country with a sense of freedom.

    So I talk to young people who could read me.

    Do not die, do not die anymore. There is room for everyone.
    We all think that happiness is in the country on the other side of the Oceans.
    There is nothing.
    Happiness is alongside the heart of your parents love you.

    Like

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