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

Matthew Braamse, 15, Death by Suicide

with 12 comments


Matthew Braamse was an aspiring musician, with his music spread widely around the Interest.  A glance at the facebook memorial page in his honor clearly shows that Matthew was very much-loved, and loved by many.  Yet, on Saturday, September 15th, 15-year-old Matthew ended his brief, promising life.As is the case in nearly every teen suicide, the bullying issue has been brought up.  Was he bullied?  I don’t know.  Some, on the memorial page, say yes; some say no.  Was it depression he suffered from?  No answer for that.  Not at this point.  And, we may never find out.  The stunned family is still very much in shock and grieving, I’m sure.  The bottom line right now is it doesn’t matter why he chose to end his life.  What matters is that he did.

As is too often the case, we don’t really know what’s going on in the minds of some of these troubled, at-risk teens.  Outwardly, they appear to be happy, perhaps well-adjusted, in some cases even popular.  However, if all of those things were true, we wouldn’t be seeing the suicide rate amongst young people continue to climb.  So, then, the question becomes “what’s the missing element”?  What are we missing?  How do we go about keeping these young people alive?  Unfortunately, the answer to any of those questions aren’t easy to come by.

If bullying was involved, and again there’s no definitive answer to that at this moment, how do we get past all of the seemingly meaningless dialogue and get to the crux of the issue?  Indeed, the very words “bully” and “bullying” have become ingrained into our society’s psyche.  And, there is a virtual army of people around the globe, including myself on the facebook blog page, working tirelessly to bring awareness to the issue while, hopefully, start seeing a reduction in bullying…and, by extension, a reduction in bully-related teen suicides.  So far, just shy of a month into the new school year, the opposite is proving to be true:  bullying is still a very central issue; bully-related suicides aren’t going away.  Hell, they’re not even subsiding.

Here’s what I do know:  we, as a society, are failing miserably at handling the double-headed monster of bullying and bully-related suicides.  It is 100% impossible for any school-aged person in today’s world to not know that the occurrences of bully-related suicides have been steadily climbing over the past few years.  It’s in the news; it’s all over the Internet.  Almost daily!  That said, how is it that it is still happening?  Not only is it still happening but, from my perspective, it’s still escalating.  As the father of yet another recent teen suicide victims said just last week:

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

I could not agree more.  Adults, parents, it’s time to re-examine how we’re all going about handling this.  If bullying was the culprit, it’s unfathomable, from what I’ve been reading on his memorial page that anyone would be as mean-spirited and cold-hearted as to bully someone who, at least from the outside looking in, was so gifted, cheerful, loving, and lovable.  Bullying needs to addressed.  Talking about addressing it is obviously failing miserably.  Definitive action needs to be taken, and that action absolutely MUST start in the homes!  There is no other way.  That has become painfully obvious.

Mental health issues need to become de-stigmatized and talked about openly and honestly.  These young people are “…reaching out to us, and we owe them more than what we’re giving them.”  No family should have to go through the suicide death of their young child.  Not one.  Yet, it’s still happening with alarming frequency.

Everyone adored him, that’s what the paper said, but, worst of all, they never knew the hell they put him through.

That’s a lyric from one of my own songs about teen suicide, “The Struggle“.  I wrote that years ago.  It still rings true today.  It.  Must.  End.

If you’re a young person reading this, know that talking saves lives.  Talk, and don’t stop talking until you find someone who will really listen.  Or, be that person who will listen, mouth closed, ears and hearts open.  Enough is enough.  It’s time to bring this dark chapter to an end.  Don’t you agree?

To the loving family and friends of Matthew Braamse, I offer you my sincerest condolences.  Rest in peace, young Matthew.





12 Responses

Subscribe to comments with RSS.

  1. Im sorry for the lose of such a young life, I believe that being bullied and or depressed is hard on the youth of today, but I hate to see a youg person take there life because they feel helpless/hopeless. I believe that us older persons were and some are still bullied and or depressed but we did not go to the extremes well most of us didnt and for the ones that did, I dont seem to remember that it made the News. I know from personal experience that my life was never easy growing up but I never gave up on Life, that is to special!!!!. I just wish the youth of today could stay strong and know that one day they will show the bullies or the doctors that they can, will and did make it through the rough times in there lifes and they are all better people for it.


    September 20, 2012 at 2:16 am

  2. the “why” may not matter right now of course, this is so tragic. But later, I think the “why” is very important, too so that maybe we can get some information, something that might help another child. This is so sad. My condolences to the family and friends.


    September 20, 2012 at 2:22 am

  3. Another life cut short for what? So sad. This seems like a kid id hang out with too. Rip


    September 20, 2012 at 3:12 am

  4. Reading this really struck a chord. I am a friend of Matt’s and his death has really affected me and those around me. The reason for his death is still unknown to us. Like you said, Matt was loved, and loved by many. He was one of the happiest, strongest, most caring, sweetest person I’ve ever met and will ever meet in my life. He was always there to pick everybody else up when they were down. He’d be the one to let them know that things get better, and to always smile. But maybe, just maybe we took Matt and his kindness for granted. Since Matt was always there for us, we didn’t even bother to think something might be wrong in his life. We didn’t bother to ask how he was doing, didn’t care to see how he felt. We were selfish and took advantage of his always being there for us. Matt was always so busy trying to make everybody’s day, and did we ever repay him? No, we didn’t. So maybe that’s why Matt did it, because nobody was ever there for him. And maybe, maybe Matt just wanted some peace for himself.


    September 20, 2012 at 2:56 pm

  5. Reblogged this on .


    September 20, 2012 at 8:46 pm

  6. i agreee with Ali. Matt is a friend of mine as well. and its hard. :/ Soooooo hard.!


    September 20, 2012 at 10:15 pm

    • I’m so sorry that you guys are going through this. I regularly check in on the RIP Matthew Braamse page, and the comments I read from you, his friends, brings me to tears every time.

      Ron Kemp

      September 20, 2012 at 10:22 pm

      • It’s so hard going through this. And not knowing makes it even worse. Matt was just so precious to his friends and family, and even strangers that just knew him for his music adored him. Everyone adored him because he was so special. He’s been on my mind all the time, I just can’t seem to let him go. They say it’s better to cry it out, but I’m not too sure anymore.


        September 21, 2012 at 7:27 pm

        • Ali, the grieving process will take a while. When I had to go through a similar situation, it took me quite a while to get to the point where I wasn’t crying all the time. In fact, there are still times where I’ll shed a tear for him. My experience has taught me that the pain never really goes away. We just learn, over time, how to deal with it. With all the love and support I’ve seen on the memorial page, you guys will be a great source of support for each other.

          Ron Kemp

          September 21, 2012 at 10:34 pm

  7. Matt was one of my best friends too. It’s depressing that we had to go through that everyone loved him and cared about him so much. i agree with Ali, i guess we didnt ask him what was going on in his life because we thought we was so special and didnt seem like he had any problems. i still miss him and i still cry every morning knowing that were not going to see him till Jesus returns. he is in a better place right now, but just remember Matt we love you so so much<3


    September 28, 2012 at 11:21 pm

  8. I did not know Matt, but he is buried about 50 feet from my son, Nathan, who took his life Dec. 20, 2010 at age 20. I agree with the statement in your post.

    No family should have to go through the suicide death of their young child.

    I don’t know for sure what brought my son to the point of suicide, but I believe based on his note, and what I have learned since then that many young people struggle with mood disorders that they keep to themselves because of the stigma. We believe it would help if parents were more aware of these disorders.

    We have started a web site to work to that end. It is Whenever, I go to my son’s grave I will see Matt’s grave and even though I never met him it will remind me even more that we must work harder at solving this problem.

    Trent Watford

    October 14, 2012 at 11:59 pm

  9. I went to school with him. I love you Matt. You will never be forgotten bro. I miss having you in class making me laugh and us gettin in trouble:) I loved to listen to you play the gutar in class, RIP love you. #TeamBraamse


    February 19, 2013 at 2:17 am

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: