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

Andrew Mulville, 17, Death by Suicide

with 7 comments


 

On Thursday, March 22nd, 17-year-old Andrew Mulville ended his life.  According to the news releases following the event, he wrapped himself in a blanket and stood in oncoming traffic.  A horrific way to go, but a very graphic illustration of how serious the issue of depression can be.  I long ago got away from describing the actual suicide event for fear of influencing others:  copycats.  However, in this case, the graphic description was already provided in the local news.  Besides that, there’s also more to that, which I’ll get to momentarily.

Whereas Andrew’s suicide was from the previous school year, needless to say it’s still very raw to Andrew’s family.  Losing your teenaged son to suicide is traumatic enough.  The healing period can be years…if ever.   In far too many cases, and this one in particular, some of the details of the event, what led up to it, and the handling of its aftermath only makes matters tremendously worse for the grieving family.

  • The issue of bullying.  For reasons that are beyond my comprehension, bullying is looked upon and dealt with in such an ineffective manner, it’s as if people who bully are given carte blanche to simply continue business-as-usual.  In this case, the bullying came from ADULTS!  Parents from his high school were lobbying to have him expelled from his school.  His infraction?  Cheering for another school’s sports team.  These parents were calling the school, demanding that he be expelled.  He only learned of it by word-of-mouth from other students.
  • The issue of depression and mental health.  In many cases where bullying is the suspected culprit that pushed a person over the line to suicide, typically there are other, underlying mental health issues involved.  In many cases, it’s depression.  I’ve talked to several different families of these young victims who told me that, whereas bullying was a factor (to whatever degree), the depression had become so severe that the victim had reached their point of no return.  That was the case with Jamie Hubley.  That was the case with Andrew Mulville.  The problem is mental health issues are not properly addressed in schools, and in our society in general.

It’s proving to be an endless task of trying to temper the bullying that we’re seeing amongst school-aged children today.  However, when it’s the adults, PARENTS!, who are leading the charge, that task becomes next-to-impossible to meet.  The idea that adults, with children in the same school, would launch such an attack on one of their children’s peers is beyond reprehensible.  Their actions led to Andrew’s being egged, his car being vandalized, and even his younger brother being bullied.  I’ve said many times in this blog that in order to efficiently address the bullying problem we’re seeing in today’s schools, we have to first address the adults/parents.  It starts at home.  And, here is as clear-cut of a case as there ever will be.

When asked what she would like to see happen in response to her son’s suicide, Andrew’s mother had this to say:

Mental health education focused on with curriculum that is in-depth and age appropriate to age level…I want polices at schools as to how they address these situations. Some are left to handle it the way they see fit. I want mental health parity, don’t honor some and not others. Give kids more of a voice in the process.

That would be a great place to start.  Removing the stigma of mental health issues and addressing them honestly and effective will save lives.  Period.  As for the bullying, it cannot be stressed enough that we will continue to spin our wheel and, in the process, lose young people to bully-related suicides, until it is addressed honestly, seriously, and realistically with the adults.  The parents.  The major influences in these young people’s lives.  Says Andrew’s grieving father:

…Look at the kids. They’re reaching out to us, and we owe them more than what we’re giving them.”

Exactly how many more self-induced deaths will it take for people to realize this simple truth.

Sorry we, as a society, failed you, Andrew.  To the family of Andrew Mulville, I extend my most sincere condolences.

Suicide Prevention

Suicide Lifeline

Enough is Enough: the blog page

Depression Warning Signs

 

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7 Responses

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  1. How utterly disgusting that it was adults who by rule of thumb should know better. My 7 year old Is being bullied at the moment due to his issues by one specific young lad and when I asked for advice someone told me to catch the wee b’stard and give him a good scare I was mortified by this answer and could not get over that another adult was telling me to bully a child but this seems to be more and more common these days. I hope that Andrews family will find things easier as time goes by even though I know it never goes away. God bless you Andrew R.I.P

    Katrina tanner

    September 19, 2012 at 9:01 am

  2. I appreciate your passion regarding bullying, it truly is a terrible thing to do to a child, or, in fact, anyone. But please, please, read your posts before you publish, or even better have someone else read them before you publish them. so much impact is lost when a reader’s attention is kidnapped by statements such as, “following the event he wrapped himself in a blanket….” Come on, once you’re dead, which a suicide is, you can’t do anything … you’re dead.

    and Katrina, sad as it is, children who bully grow up and bully still … leading to the attitude that pushing little kids around is the thing to do when they misbehave. Try going to the teacher, the school, the parents, and have a ‘sit down’ with your little boy and tell him what you plan to do about it and how angry you are and how much you love him. I don’t know from a professional standpoint, but it seems to me that if you know someone is in your corner it makes life easier.

    sretirwriters

    September 19, 2012 at 3:28 pm

    • I’m not really sure I’m understanding your point. I do proofread several times before publishing. And, in this case, it was also proofread, and approved, by his own mother. I’m always open to constructive criticism, I’m just not sure I follow you on this one. Thanks.

      Ron Kemp

      September 19, 2012 at 4:41 pm

    • And, it might be a good idea before you write a reply to re-read the part you are commenting on. The post says, “According to the news releases following the event, he wrapped himself in a blanket and stood in oncoming traffic.” The comma is a very important part of this sentence. According to the news releases following the event [comma] he wrapped himself in a blanket and stood in oncoming traffic. There is nothing wrong with the sentence structure. And why you would focus on that in regard to the point of this story is beyond me. If you don’t understand something on the first read, you might want to go back and give it a second read … just sayin….

      zita55

      September 20, 2012 at 5:12 am

    • You misplaced your coma sretirwriters. It said, “According to the news releases following the event, ( which means the news said the next part) “he wrapped himself in a blanket and stood in oncoming traffic. It wasn’t posted how you said it. Either way, it is sad. My prayers to his family.

      Sheri

      September 21, 2012 at 3:09 am

  3. It’s all very well going on about grammar and possible mistakes (which I can’t see) but come on this is not a English essay this is about a young man who felt so hurt, confused and lost that he felt the need to take his life. Have some decency and put that first please. Though I will thank you sretirwriters for your advice, on the day I posted this I did contact his school and spoke to the deputy headteacher and we are going to work together to hopefully get this sorted. I also talked to my son but due to his aspergers and learning issues he does have communication problems so it can be hard but I know he will tell me if anything else happens. I just don’t want my son going through what I did for years as he is a very trusting, caring wee guy and forgives so quickly that people will see him as a easy target and I want to protect him to space and back but I can’t be there all the time so here’s hoping the school will work hard to nip this in the bud and that goes for all the other wee ones. Again R.I.P Andrew

    Katrina tanner

    September 20, 2012 at 9:38 am

  4. I am so sorry for your loss. I too lost my brother to suicide. It is something that haunts us everyday. I am so sad that bulling is us common today and with parents to, I say grow up. Worry about what’s important and leave others alone….. We need hard stiff laws for this behavior it just can’t continue… As for depression this is serious stuff and we need help for children and adults. We need awareness out there. My heart hurts for you and for all of us who have lost a loved one to suicide. RIP Andrew

    Tina Bardwell

    September 23, 2012 at 3:35 pm


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