Archive for the ‘Mental Health’ Category
This is horrific news out of Detroit today: 13-year-old Tyler Nichols brought a gun to school this morning and shot himself in a school bathroom. He died later in the day at a nearby hospital.Obviously, it’s still much too early to know any of the details, or the “whys”, of why he ended his young life. At this moment, bullying does not appear to be the factor. What is known at this time is that Tyler secured a legally registered gun from an unidentified relative and brought it into the school today. Somewhere around 8:00 this morning, he reportedly went to a bathroom on another floor and shot himself. One of his schoolmates found him lying on the floor and notified school officials. Soon after, the school was placed on lockdown as police investigated.At the hospital, a suicide note was reportedly found somewhere on Tyler’s person. Few details have been given, at this point, as to the contents of the note. However, one thing that is being reported is that he did say that he was “…sick of all the drama…” in his life. Again, only those closest to him will understand what that means, and we won’t speculate. What’s important is that, for whatever reason, a 13-year-old felt so overwhelmed with whatever “drama” he had going on his life that he saw no way out but to simply end his life. The enormity of this tragedy hasn’t even set in, yet. As he was reportedly a very popular and intelligent students, his classmates…and teachers will be forever affected by what happened Thursday morning at Davidson Middle School. But, it’s his family who will live the rest of their lives with the relentless grief of knowing that Tyler is gone for good. It’s a pain no parent should ever, ever!, have to go through.
As the gun control debate continues to gather momentum across the country, one question that I’m sure will be raised is why was it so easy for him to get ahold of a loaded gun? That’s not to point fingers at the relative who owns the gun. I’m sure they’re beside themselves with grief right now. Rather, it’s to ask the question: “when do we start paying attention to gun safety and gun control in this country?” Just how many lives must be lost to gun violence before we, as a people, finally say “Enough!!! Something must be done!!!”?Rallying swiftly to pay their respects to Tyler, the community gathered Thursday evening for a candlelight vigil in his memory. Hundreds attended. Undoubtedly, many of them are still trying to come to terms with what happened in their school, in their community, and in their lives today. It will be a long time before they’re able to sort it all out. However, unfortunately, right now, as I type this, the speculation machine is already in full-gear on one social media site with the standard cries about bullying. Bullying is a horrible epidemic that we face today, but not every teen suicide is a result of bullying. And, from the looks of things, at least here in the early stages, bullying was not a factor in Tyler Nichol’s suicide.
What we cannot lose track of is that Tyler left behind a family that, at this very moment, is stunned by today’s actions, absolutely overwhelmed by indescribable grief and sorrow. Our focus needs to be on them, as we offer them all of the support, and condolences, we can possibly muster. They’re going to need it.
What is also very apparent is that we, as a society, need to do a much, much better job at reaching out to these young people. We’re failing miserably. Every time I see another name attached to the word “suicide”, I’m reminded that we’re not doing enough to reach them. We’re failing at making them understand that whatever pain they’re experiencing right now is temporary! We’re failing at making them realize that their lives are worth living, that things will (honestly!) get better! We’re failing at keeping them alive long enough to understand that they’re strong enough to make it through whatever it is they’re facing. And, sadly, as we continue to fail, the number of teen suicides continues to rise. Enough!
To the family of Tyler Nichols, I send my deepest sympathy. I can’t even fathom what you’re going through right now. Rest in peace, Tyler.
******************************SUICIDE PREVENTION RESOURCES!!!******************************
With “bully”, “bullying”, and “bullycide” now a part of our everyday vernacular, it’s easy to lose track of the real fact that bullying isn’t the only driving force behind teen suicide. Depression, as well as other mental illnesses, also play a large roll in it. Depression, perhaps, just as much as bullying. In fact, some say that depression is the leading cause of suicides.
I received word late last week that 17-year-old Hannah Gabriel Myer ended her life on Wednesday, March 13th after a long battle with depression. The person with whom I spoke will remain anonymous, but she was a longtime friend of Hannah’s. The picture she painted of the struggles her friend endured was heartbreaking:
We lived in Colorado Springs Colorado. She loved to ski and was 6 in our league. She was a beautiful girl who didn’t like herself. Her family was very rich, and none of her parents ever paid attention to her. Her nanny always took care of her. She also had bulimia, but I was the only one who knew. She used to cut. She loved her dog so much, and she told me Spencer, the dog, would be the only reason she stayed. I have Spencer now.
Her parents weren’t around much before she died, so they have asked me a lot. Like, what would she want at her funeral. If she wanted a funeral. Her favorite song, etc. She had a 4.0 and was in 3 APs. She was basically the perfect child but was cracking under pressure and couldn’t tell anyone. I was the only one who knew, and I’ve told counselors etc. But, no one did anything. And, now she’s gone. She was just so beautiful and should never have died.
This beautiful girl had parents who didn’t know who their daughter was. I’m sure that, now that she’s gone, they regret having missed out on sharing in on more of her life. That they can no longer make amends and get to know their lovely daughter is equally as tragic as the suicide, itself. This beautiful girl had a friend, who was her de facto family, in the true sense of the word, who tried to save her friend but knew in the end that “…whatever I do was never going to be enough.” I don’t know which is more frustrating: the fact that, at least in Hannah’s mind, her parents were too busy with their own lives, or the fact that her friend tried getting her counseling but no one did anything. Either of the two is bad enough. Either of the two could be enough, on their own, to lead an already-fragile person over the edge. Together, they form a lethal combination that proved too much for Hannah Myers to overcome. Now she’s gone. Now, her parents are struggling to learn who their daughter was through her friend while coping with the devastation of losing a child. This is never easy for anyone.
For as beautiful as Hannah was, I find it haunting to see the level of obvious pain in her eyes. I wondered if that was just my imagination working after the fact. I was assured by her friend, however, that the pain I thought I saw was, in fact, very real and very visible to anyone who took the time to notice. Her response to my question of whether it was my imagination, or was I able to see the pain in her eyes was: “You can. I saw, but no one else did”.
It’s never easy to write about these teen suicides. In fact, it gets harder every time. Like most teen suicides, if not all, this could’ve so easily been avoided. Hannah Myer didn’t have to die! Once again, we see an instance where sheer negligence led to the untimely death of a young person. The attempt was made to get her some much-needed therapy and counseling by a trained professional. Nothing was done. Again. And, once again, we’re left wondering what is it going to take to get people – adults!! – to realize that we’ve got a major epidemic on our hands!? Why are so many young people dying by their own hands with nothing being done about it!? That is what’s most infuriating!! It’s almost as if the message that is being sent is that these young lives are expendable. That’s a tough pill to swallow; however, the redundancy of the situations surrounding far-too-many of these teen suicides makes it easy for one to walk away with that impression. Certainly, more can be done to prevent them from happening. Obviously, more needs to be done to prevent them from happening. As one parent of a recent suicide victim put it: “…Look at the kids. They’re reaching out to us, and we owe them more than what we’re giving them.” That, from a parent who lost a teenager to suicide. We can do more. We must do much more.
Through this blog, you, Hannah, will never be forgotten. Though most of the people who will read this never knew you, they will never forget you. Or, your smile. Or, the pain in your eyes. I hope you are now at peace.
******************************SUICIDE PREVENTION RESOURCES!!!!!!******************************
Every time I learn about another teen suicide, it wrenches my heart. Sometimes, I even get overwhelmed writing about them. And, sometimes, I just cry. That was the case as I read about Brenden Lumley’s suicide, which occurred on December 9th, read over some of the information, and looked at some of the pictures that his loyal and devoted friends and family are posting on the facebook memorial page that has been set up, by them, in his honor. Nothing, though, moved me more than a letter Brenden’s mother, Sherry, wrote to the assembled group of friends and family. She spoke openly and honestly about the wonderful 16 years she was able to spend with her son and how incredible of a young person he was; she spoke of the “bully” that claimed his life; and, she passionately reached out to other young people who may be dealing with depression, as well. And, she made me cry.
Thank you everyone for joining this group, in support of the most amazing person that I have ever had the pleasure of knowing….my son….my life….Brenden (Boo) Lumley. What strikes everyone the most when they think about Brenden is his amazing smile, his laugh and what a great loyal, honest and trustworthy friend he was. I know he will be missed by so many, and I really feel that he would want me to share a few things with all of you…his family…his friends…and anyone who has been affected by this tragedy. Most important, Brenden never meant to hurt anyone; he just could not deal with the pain and the rage that tormented him inside. He did have so many loyal friends, and he had his big brother who always tried to protect him and guide him. And, of course he always knew that he had me, his mommy, and he knew that I loved him more than life!! But, where he got stuck was not wanting to bother any of us with his pain, he didn’t want to put that weight on us, even though we tried so many times to encourage him to let us in, But, he did not want us to hurt the way that he hurt, so he trapped it inside.
Depression robs us all of any peaceful thoughts…it allows u to believe horrible things about yourself and eventually if you allow it to….it will close of any light in your life until we feel so alone that you feel like there is no other choice!!! That is simply not true at all!!! It is worse than any other disease because it can only be diagnosed by your heart, and the only cure is for you to be humble enough to accept the help from the ones that love you…which is very hard for some people to do. Brenden thought it was impossible. Depression is the worst bully and one that we cannot just lock up in jail and throw away the key!!!
Please know from me personally some of the pain and effects of suicide. Brenden left behind a brother who feels like he couldn’t protect him, a step brother who feels lost without him. Two sisters that are scared to walk freely in our home because of the terror that we all still feel from what we witnessed that night!! A mommy and dad that feels so much guilt, so much loss, broken hearts and the most unimaginable pain every moment of every day!! We are frozen in time, and our world will NEVER be the same!! It will take years for us to rebuild this home again and to fill it with peace, happiness and love again! Please honour Brenden’s name and stand up against depression, please talk to the people who love you…believe me…you are not alone even…but depression will tell you otherwise! I promise right now that if anyone ever feels alone, I WILL be your friend. I CAN help you. I WANT to help you. I WILL find someone to help you! Brenden would not want any other family to go through this pain and what we have been through. Don’t be scared…don’t be too proud…seek out the ones that love you, they want to help you….and if you really don’t think you can find anyone…I AM HERE. I was here for my Boo, but he could not take my hand. Please don’t make that same mistake.
Thank you all again for your love and support.
With bullying and the terrible effects it’s having in school and online today, there’s a tendency to overlook the fact that not all teen suicides are a result of bullying. Although there are no “official” statistics, due in part to the fact that bully-related suicides are enormously downplayed, depression plays a major role in many, if not the majority, of teen suicides. It was depression that claimed Jamie Hubley’s life. It was depression that claimed EricJames Borges’ life. It was depression that claimed Brenden Lumley’s life. There are more…many, many more.
Brenden was surrounded by an overwhelming amount of love and support. The depression lied to him an convinced him otherwise. That’s a common trait with that disease. I was told by one of Jamie Hubley’s family members that he, too, was completely surrounded by lots of love and support. I know that to be true. Like Brenden, he couldn’t see it. The depression wouldn’t allow him to.
It’s time that we, as a people, remove the stigmatism of mental illnesses, depression in particular. As we’re seeing over and over, depression can be deadly. If we’re truly concerned about changing this climate of young people feeling so alone and hopeless that they fell ending their lives is the only way out, it’s imperative that we begin to put into place mechanisms for them to better deal with their depression. Whatever it takes. Whatever will spare another family from having to go through what Brenden’s is going through right now.
***IF YOU OR SOMEONE YOU KNOW ARE STRUGGLING WITH DEPRESSION, TALK TO SOMEONE!!!***
FIND OUT IF YOU SUFFER FROM DEPRESSION(then seek help!)