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

Posts Tagged ‘American Foundation for Suicide Prevention

More of Jordan Halmich: A Word from a Parent

with 3 comments


We all know by now that bullying has played a role, big and small, in many teen suicides.  You’ve read about some of them here.  If you’ve been a regular follower of this blog, or if you’re a member of the facebook blog page, you’ve also read many times where I’ve said that “…not all teens who commit suicide are LGBT teens, and not all teen suicides are in response to being bullied”.  Over the past year, I’ve watched, both on some of my own blog posts and on other articles, as well, as people would a.) read about another teen suicide and instantly respond “Bullying has to end!!” and/or b.) make a statement that goes like this:  “it’s a shame that these teens are killing themselves for being bullied just because they’re gay.”

NOT EVERY TEEN WHO COMMITS SUICIDE IS LGBT; NOT EVERY TEEN WHO COMMITS SUICIDE WAS BULLIED; EVERY SINGLE TEEN SUICIDE IS TRAGIC!  

The mother of Jordan Halmich, one of the three teens who committed suicide in a seven-week period, left a comment on the blog that prompted me to respond to her via email as opposed to simply replying to the comment:

I am the mother of Jordan Halmich, and just to make this all clear, Jordan was not bullied  He didn’t take his own life because of being bullied.  He had been depressed.  He came to me. and I took him the assistant principal and called in the alt ED counselor and had them evaluate him.  At that point, he was given a therapist, which he was seeing as well as had the assistant principal and alt ED teacher whom he trusted.  He talked with Jordan, and I talked as well.  His problem was not being ignored.  I was so upset to see all this published and people just jumping on the bandwagon of what people were saying, that the three suicides were caused from bullying.  Well, I am here to tell you get off that bandwagon and get the story straight:  Jordan Halmich, 16, of St. Clair, took his own life on Sept. 28 due to severe depression that his family and many others were trying to help him with and that we don’t know and never will know the true state of where his mind was that dreadful day that he saw no other way to end his depression that day than to take his own life.   As a parent, to face life everyday without him here, and for his father, his brothers, his other family, and many friends, is the most empty, hurtful feeling to go through in life, so seeing all this online reporting of non-truth about Jordan is hurtful and all the pictures, comments that they dug up and found just goes to show that social media is out of control.  Nothing is private anymore, and that is where the problem truly lies this day and age.

I don’t agree with bullying, and I am not saying it isn’t a problem and that, if it is happening, that it doesn’t need to be addressed or dealt with.  It does.  I always taught my kids that “no one is better than you”, not to ever let anyone make you feel that way and, by all means, you stand up for yourself and don’t let anyone treat you as if you don’t matter.  My kids didn’t let that happen and still don’t.  Jordan was only 5ft 3in and would stand up to someone 6ft tall without fear.  So, believe me, he was not bullied.  I, as a parent, would not let someone bully my children for more than 1 day without me taking care of it, anyway I could, to make it stop.  If we don’t fight for our children, then who will?  It’s our job to love and protect our children, and I take that very seriously.In the blog post, itself, I specified that “It is alleged that he’d been bullied.”  Now, we know for sure that he wasn’t

Last year’s suicide death of Jamie Hubley was similar in that people were, and still are, beating the “bully drum” when, in fact, it wasn’t bullying at all.  The role that bullying played in Jamie’s suicide was miniscule in comparison to the level of depression he was locked in to.  Had he been bullied?  There were a couple of instances.  But, it wasn’t why he ended his life.  Same is true with Jordan Halmich.  Was he bullied?  His mother says a definitive and emphatic “no”.  Jordan suffered from a deep depression that, much like Jamie, no one could save him from despite the efforts of his loved ones.

Following Jamie Hubley’s suicide, I had the honor of meeting several of members of his family.  As was the case with Jordan’s family, they were keenly aware that Jamie wasn’t dealing with severe depression, and they were doing everything humanly possible to help him see his way through it.  What Jordan’s mother said to me was almost identical, nearly verbatim!, to what one of Jamie’s family members told me about his suicide last year:

I just want people to know he was not bullied and I did not turn a blind eye to him or his depression. I was on top of it and got him help from staff, therapists, doctors, his family and friends.  He was not alone.  We were all here and trying to help.  He was an energetic, fun, had a huge heart and was loved by many.  His smile and outgoing attitude made him several friends, and that is way I want him remembered. I don’t want anyone thinking I am, or anyone else is, trying to point fingers and place blame for what he did, and I definitely don’t want it being believed that he was bullied when he wasn’t.

That’s a simple and reasonable request.  Teen suicide is tragic, regardless of the reasoning behind it.  Sure, the pain and even anger are both magnified when bullying is involved; however, the fact of the matter is not every teen suicide is the result of bullying.  In our hard-fought efforts to get both the bullying epidemic and explosion of teen suicides under control, it’s important to the families of those lost to suicide to understand that simple fact.

******************************SUICIDE PREVENTION RESOURCES******************************

UNDERSTANDING TEEN DEPRESSION

SUICIDE PREVENTION TOOLKIT (pdf)

SUICIDE PREVENTION LIFELINE

BEFRIENDERS

 

Christian Knudsen, 14, Death by Suicide

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I was contacted on the facebook blog page and notified of another horrific loss to teen suicide.  This time, however, bullying wasn’t the culprit.  According to his friend who contacted me, there had been some bullying; however, according to his family, the culprit was depression.  Whatever the case, 14-year-old Christian Knudsen surrendered his battle Saturday, August 25th.

Says his grieving family, Christian had “…a zest for life”, was very caring and compassionate, had big dreams for his future and an even bigger faith.  Says his friend who contacted me, he was a “…fun guy who could always make you smile. You would always know when he entered a room. He was an athlete and had a passion for soccer. ”  But, I think one of his older brother’s friends said it best:

I don’t know him personally, in fact, I wouldn’t have even known his name if somebody brought it up. The only thing I would think of would be his brother, Erik Knudsen of Letters and Lights. Christian was Erik’s younger brother who was dealing with depression, so much so that he commited suicide on Saturday, August 25th, 2012. I know what it’s like to be in that position of wanting to die, but he felt it needed to be taken to a whole new level. I’m deeply sorry for the family and friends of this innocent boy, who was lost in all of the chaos of the world and the society. I don’t know the fine details, and I don’t need to. Christian was loved by many, but we never show the love to people because we think they already know. That’s where the problem is. If everybody who’s telling Christian they love him now, would’ve done it before Saturday, we might still have him here. Show your love for people, because you don’t know what’s going on in their lives. Don’t be afraid of what it could do.

My dearest thoughts go out to the Knudsen family and all affected by Christian’s passing. Hopefully it’s better for him wherever he is, because the pain he was having here was too much. RIP Christian. You’re missed and loved by many, even of those who don’t know you.

We don’t know the fine details, and we don’t need to.  What we do know is yet one more young person has been lost to teen suicide.  And, that’s a problem.  It’s a problem we do need to learn the “fine details” of so that we can better learn how to prevent it.  According to an online obituary written by a family member,

Although a community of family members, friends, and professionals worked hard with him, he had struggles that overcame his will to live

I know that the same held true with another highly publicized teen suicide from last October.  And, I’m sure that there are countless other survivors who can say the same thing.  Understanding depression can be a very helpful and useful tool in suicide prevention.  Of course, it’s too late to prevent Christian from ending his young, promising life.  However, we can still continue to work as hard as we can to learn more about the root causes of teen suicide, then work even harder to try to prevent more families from having to endure what The Knudsens are having to endure right now.  The mental health aspect of suicides is very real.  The more we know, the better we understand, the better our chances are of making a solid difference in preventing these life-changing events from occurring.

With September being Suicide Prevention Month Worldwide, I encourage everyone to learn more about depression, and other mental health issues that contribute to teen suicides.  Indeed, ALL suicides.  According to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention:

The emotional crises that usually precede suicide are often recognizable and treatable. Although most depressed people are not suicidal, most suicidal people are depressed. Serious depression can be manifested in obvious sadness, but often it is rather expressed as a loss of pleasure or withdrawal from activities that had been enjoyable. One can help prevent suicide through early recognition and treatment of depression and other psychiatric illnesses.

Sadly, we say goodbye to yet another promising young life.  We can go to a facebook memorial page set up in Christian’s honor and pay our condolences to his family and friends.  It won’t bring him back to them; however, it will hopefully help with their healing process to know that so many people care…and, are grieving with them.  Rest in peace, Christian.