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

Ryan Nash, 15, Death by Suicide

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Let’s put this on the table first and foremost:  by all accounts, from people close to the family, Ryan was not bullied.  As has become the norm as soon as word hits the social media “grapevine” of yet another teen suicide, bullying is automatically assumed to be the culprit.  That is simply not always the case.  What matters most at the end of the day is that yet another youth has taken his or her life, that another family has been devastated, that friends who were close to the deceased are left to wonder “why?”.

What IS known at this point is that yesterday, May 6th, 15-year-old Ryan Nash ended his young life.  What is known, also, is that he was a freshman baseball player at Carl Sandburg High School in Orland Park, Illinois.  And, sadly, what is known is that Ryan’s family, friends, and, indeed, entire community are in a deep state of shock and mourning.  Everything else, at this point, is pure speculation.

What is important to realize, and reinforce, to all teens – whether you think they’re struggling or not! – is that there are resources available for them at all times.  There are people for them to talk to.  Let’s face it:  being a teenager is tough.  It was tough when I was a teen.  It’s even moreso today with the prevalence of the social media medium in our culture.  Today, more than ever, having resourses readily available, and visible!!for teens can be a difference of life and death.  Literally.

The deeper I delve into this whole issue of teen suicide, the more I learn.  Obviously.  And, one of the common threads has been the deadly silence.  That needs to be addressed.  We need to find a way to get the point across to all teens that if they’re struggling with something – bullying, relationship issues, depression, whatever! – they need to talk to someone.  Find an adult to talk to.  If not their parents, maybe the parents of a close and trusted friend.  Maybe an aunt or uncle.  SOMEBODY!!  The biggest key is to let them know that they don’t have to suffer in silence.  Silence is deadly.

In the case of Ryan Nash, by all accounts, he was a very popular young man, very well-liked, a baseball player.  His friends have been speaking up, via twitter, since Sunday’s tragic event.  They speak of him with nothing but love, respect, and sadness.

Conor 
Still in pain and shock ill miss you friend #RN20 never forgotten we have this eagles!

Nick 

Knowing my best friend, he would be doing the same thing if anyone else were in this position #RN20

His sister has even chimed in:

niki nash ‏
My brother can see how loved he was #RN20 thank you all so much for all of your support today

The bottom line is that, for all the effort that so many people are putting in, in an effort to stem the tide of teen suicides, we’re obviously not doing enough.  That means that, collectively, we all have to work harder, and faster!!, to find a solution.  It can, and must, be done.  The world is losing far, far, far too many young people to suicide.

To the family and friends of Ryan Nash, I send my deepest sympathy and condolences.  Rest in peace, Ryan.

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