Matthew Braamse, 15, Death by Suicide
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.
Written by Ron Kemp
September 20, 2012 at 1:55 am
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