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Let's work together against bullying and help bring the teen suicide rate down to zero

Spencer Watson Seupel 1990-2012

with 2 comments


Making sense of a suicide is a daunting task at best.  In many, if not most, cases, it’s an impossible one.  Friday, Spencer Watson Seupel, 21, ended what promised to be a brilliant, productive, happy life.  He wasn’t bullied.  There’s no indication anywhere of him being gay.  Still, in a moment of impulsivity, he’s gone.

Spencer’s suicide was the result of binge drinking.  Alcohol.  That cunning, and quite legal, drug that claims thousands of lives annually.  At the root of the suicide, however, was something deeper.  I certainly cannot tell the story any better than his own mother.  It’s a very compelling story, indeed.

In the media, and in the circles of social media, we hear a lot about bullying as it pertains to young people ending their lives.  And, make no mistake, bullying is an issue that demands a lot of immediate attention as it truly is playing a large role in many, many teen suicide.  However, bullying is not the only reason young people commit suicide.  Understanding that is a vital baby step in the right direction.  Knowing some of the other issues that leads young people to feel suicide is the only answer is an essential quantum leap in that same direction.

Depression has been named in many teen suicides even since I began this blog in November.  In some instances, even if there’s been bullying, depression was the actual root.  The bullying simply exacerbated an already volatile situation.  Understanding depression isn’t restricted to just the psychiatric field by any stretch.  We can educate ourselves, as well.  We can, and we must if we’re to save lives.  But, the vast majority of us are not professionals in the field of mental health.  Therefore, how would we know?  How could we spot it?  And, better still, what do we do when we do recognize it?  That’s where educating ourselves comes in.

See, if we’re to truly make a difference, if we’re really serious about bringing about change, it’s going to take so much more than just ranting about how bad it is that all these beautiful young souls are killing themselves or how horrifying it is that these young people are being bullied.  And, that’s not said in a derogatory manner by any means.  I do as much ranting as any two people combined!  That said, and beyond the ranting, it’s going to take real action if we’re to rein this back in.  It can be done.

Sometimes, something as simple as a kind word, or an attentive ear can make a difference in a young person’s life.  Far too many of these young people feel disconnected, a sense of worthlessness even as their families and friends surround and shower them with love and attention.  Self-esteem appears to be a major factor.  So, giving them positive reinforcements regularly helps bolster their low sense of worth.  As non-professionals, we can still help reverse that by reminding them, constantly, of the positives in their lives.

For Spencer, perhaps it was a mixture of all the above.  Certainly, the drug we call alcohol delivered the final blow.  But, there were already mechanisms in place that created the environment, if only in his own mind, that made Spencer feel suicide was the answer.  His loving family is left to attempt to put the pieces of this puzzle together.  I hope Spencer can now find the peace that eluded him here on Earth

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  1. [...] Spencer Watson Seupel 1990-2012 (ronskemp.wordpress.com) [...]

  2. The mother was right about how we’ve lost our way because of conformist youth culture. Most youth culture is so unrealistic, it’s no wonder kids, teens, and some college students my age feel they need to sacrifice who they really are. This is something that needs to be changed.

    yawriterinthemaking

    February 24, 2012 at 1:08 am


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