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

Posts Tagged ‘Suicide

Hannah Gabriel Myer, 17: Her “Bully” was Depression

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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.

Hannah MyerI 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.” Hannah Myer2I 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!!!!!!******************************

BEFRIENDERS

SUICIDE PREVENTION LIFELINE

THE TREVOR PROJECT

ENOUGH IS ENOUGH: the blog page

Ciara Pugsley, 15, Succumbs to Cyberbullying

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This is playing out like a bad rerun.  Another teen, everything going for her, well loved by everyone who knew her…with the exception of the person or people who chose, instead, bully her online until she couldn’t handle it anymore.Ciara Pugsley, just 15-years-old, ended her life Wednesday, September 19th.  What’s apparent is that Ciara had experienced “extreme bullying” on the website Ask.fm, which is an anonymous site where people can post whatever they want with no impunity.

Ask.fm did not respond to … requests for statement in the days following the death of 15 year old Ciara Pugsley, who experienced extreme bullying through the anonymous site in the months before her suicide.

Ask.fm’s co-founder, Mark Terebin did, however, offer a statement, which comes off as more of an excuse as to why his site isn’t responsible for what happened:

“Of course there is a problem with cyber-bullying in social media. But, as far as we can see, we only have this situation in Ireland and the UK most of all, trust me. There are no complaints regarding cyberbullying from parents, children, or other sources in other countries. It seems like children are crueller (sic) in these countries (Ireland and UK).”

Don’t tell that to the parents of kids in the U.S. or Canada or Australia who have lost their children to suicide largely due to being cyberbullied.  Once again, there is a lack of accountability and responsibility.  No one wants to be held accountable; no one wants to be held responsible when these young people end their own lives.  Yet, as we’re seeing instances of teen suicide due to cyberbullying increase, there absolutely must be accountability.  If you’re going to have a site where everyone posts anonymously, there must be safeguards in place to protect vulnerable and innocent users:  the children who use it.  That’s the responsibility of the site owner.  Conversely, parents must have their own safeguards that they can put in place to ensure their child’s safety online.  See, there’s a breakdown all the way across the board.  Meanwhile, young people are ending their lives daily, and some of it is due to, at least in part, cyberbullying.

And, make no mistake:  cyberbullying today is intense.  We just witnessed how severe it can be with the Amanda Todd story. These young people can be relentless and unremorseful.  In fact, they’re still taunting Amanda, even in death.  What that tells me is that there is a total collapse, at least in this case, of any semblance of parental guidance.  No accountability; no responsibility.

By all accounts, Ciara was a very happy girl who loved life.  She didn’t want to die.  Once again, it was a case where she felt no other way out except for to end her life.  A fellow blogger had this to say:

As a community we have to pull together for the benefit of our next generation. We owe it to the memory of Ciara Pugsley and to our own beloved children. We simply cannot skirt the issues of cyber-bullying and teenage suicide. The stakes are too high.

That’s exactly the point:  The stakes are too high.  Too many lives are being lost needlessly.  Accountability.  Responsibility.  Both are needed before we can even begin to think about making a dent in the bullying/cyberbullying/teen suicide epidemic.  The first step, though, is acknowledging that there’s an epidemic in the first place.  Even that obvious point is being glossed over.

Rest in peace, Ciara.

 

Trae Schumaker, 13, Death by Suicide

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At approximately the same time 13-year-old Cade Poulos ended his life on Wednesday, Trae Schumaker, also 13, ended his, as well.

I received news of this tragedy almost immediately after it happened.  Gathering fact s can prove to be painstaking.  The initial word was that he was being bullied.  And, the beat goes on.  I was given a reason for the bullying, but I can’t verify that.  Therefore, the “why” will remain a mystery to all of us who aren’t close to the case.

I just posted new information to the facebook blog page citing that suicide is now the #1 injury caused death surpassing auto accidents and homicides.  If I’ve failed at getting the severity of this situation across to you, perhaps reading this article will help.  Young people are killing themselves at an alarming pace, and the time is right here and right now to work harder to bring about change.  But, how do we get there?

“It Gets Better” isn’t working.  At least not to a degree where it’s make noticeable, concrete differences.  The young people are left with the lingering and haunting question of “when”.  When, will “it get better”?  I’ve heard that question asked often enough to know that the message, albeit very well intended, is being lost on far too many of our young people.  Look no further than Jamey Rodemeyer and EricJames Borges, both of whom had even made videos for the “It Gets Better” project before succumbing, themselves, to suicide.  The creators of the project started with only the very best of intentions.  And, to be sure, there probably are some people who credit their being here today to the “It Gets Better” project.

This blog, and its companion facebook blog page, is obviously not enough, either.  That was pointed out to me with screaming urgency earlier in the year with the suicide deaths of Kenny Wolf and Grace McComas.  Their untimely deaths caused me to step back and examine exactly why do I do this.  These two bright and intelligent young people both lived virtually “in my backyard”.  So, when they were lost to us, I had to reconcile in my own mind exactly why I was doing this.  Overwhelmed with the grieve of having these two local young people end their lives, my initial though was “how did I miss them?  They’re right here in my back yard!”

The reality, of course, is that there are people who are benefitting from this blog, as well as the “It Gets Better” project.  However, much more needs to be done, and by more people.  With suicide now officially the #1 cause of injury death, it’s painfully obvious that much, much more needs to be done.  How do we reach these young people before it’s too late.  Writing about them after they’ve already ended their lives is good for heightening awareness to the problem.  That’s after the fact.

There are some very simple, very concrete ways that we can all start making a difference, in my opinion:

  • It is imperative that these young people are encouraged to talk about their issues…and, keep talking about them until someone cares and listens.  They need to be made aware that other people have gone through what they’re going through and that it is  possible to work through whatever their problems may be.  The down side to that is far too many people, young and not so young, echo the same refrain:  “I tried talking, but nobody listened!!  I’ve personally witnessed this and can attest to its validity.
  • It makes no sense to encourage them to talk if no one is going to listen.  What that means is that every caring and concerned adult (parents, teachers, older siblings, whomever!) simply must be willing to not just HEAR what they’re trying to convey to you but LISTEN intently.  By listening intently, you’ll be able to hear exactly what it is that’s causing them dismay.  This is a crucial step.  I keep going back to the Andy Williams case from 2001.  It haunts me.  He tried his best to tell the adults in his life that he was in distress.  No one listened.  As a result, three young people lost their lives that day:  the two he killed, and Andy, himself.  At age 16, he was sentenced to 50 years.  He had spent the weekend with his best friend.  He confided in the friend’s dad that he was in distress.  The day didn’t take him seriously.  Monday morning, everything changed forever.  The value of truly listening cannot be overemphasized.
  • We, as adults, simply must educate ourselves to the complexities of bullying.  It goes well beyond just someone saying something mean or rude to another person.  I witnessed, up close and person, just this past week, just how ingrained bullying truly is and why we’re having such a hard time eradicating it.  But, that’s a different story for a different time.  Suffice it to say, as I sat in front of my computer monitor and watched what was transpiring right before my eyes, I was, at once, mortified and relieved.  Relieved because now, finally, I get it.  I understand how difficult eradicating bullying is and will continue to be until we all get a much better grasp on exactly what’s going on.
  • We simply must figure out an effective way to compel school administrators to stop turning a blind eye to bullying situations, to stop treating instances and reports of bullying as insignificant events.  That’s mandatory!  Someone on the facebook blog page reported having a teacher tell him, once, that she didn’t “…get paid enough money to deal with it”.  Really?  That teacher should’ve lost her job immediately and never been allowed to teach again.  Many schools and school districts now have stringent anti-bullying policies in place.  Stringent anti-bullying policies are 100% useless unless they are properly enforced.

These things are not going to sudden put an end to the bullying/teen suicide cycle that we’re in.  However, I feel like this represents a good starting point.  Suicide is preventable.  We need to do more.  Much more.

Sadly, all of our efforts won’t bring Trae Schumaker back to his loving and grieving family and friends.  We can make a difference and prevent the next one from happening, though.  To do that, however, we need to stop shaking our collective heads, stop talking about how (insert your own adjective) it is, and start taking much more definite and direct action.  I’m not comfortable with knowing that suicide is now the #1 cause of injury deaths, and you shouldn’t be, either.

Rest in peace, young Trae Schumaker.  I hope you’re at peace, now.  To his family and friends, I send my deepest, most heartfelt condolences.

****SUICIDE IS PREVENTABLE!!!  IF YOU, OR SOMEONE YOU KNOW, IS IN CRISIS, SEEK HELP!!!****

Suicide Prevention

The Trevor Project

Suicide Prevention Lifeline

Enough is Enough: the blog page

“This Has to Stop Now”: Rachel Ehmke, 13, Bullying Suicide

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She was a beautiful girl.  She was ambitious, “big dreams, big goals”, says her father.  She was bullied, according to her family, for over a year.  And, now she’s gone.

Rachel Ehmke wore a brave face.  Whenever asked about the bullying situation, she’d always say she was “fine”.  She didn’t want them to worry about her.  However, behind the mask of bravery was a young girl who was being torn apart by the bullying:  “Fine = I wish you knew how I really felt”.  No one did.  Her family knew she was being bullied, and they did what needed to be done in response to it.  They didn’t know what was going on inside of her.  She held it in.  Letting it out, and letting her amazing family know how she was really feeling would’ve most likely saved her life.

Older sister, Brittany, bravely spoke to a local group of concerned citizens, Community Against Bullying, about her sister.  Through her pain and tears, she painted a very powerful, poignant picture of the events that took her younger sister away from her.    Armed with the knowledge that the known bullies and their families are now being contacted and demeaned, she emphatically stated:

“We don’t want that,” Brittany said. “My sister wouldn’t want that. I know that she would not want this to keep going.”

In the end, though, she conveyed a message of grace and love.

“We just want anybody who is bullying, just to stop,” Brittany said. “I don’t care if it’s in Kasson or it’s here. I don’t really care where it is, because this is the worst thing you can ever go through, that you can suffer through, because people were hurting, were so mean to her and she felt there was nothing else to do.”

In fact, that’s the message from the entire family.  The father, Rick, echoed the same sentiment:

“Even the bullies obviously need some help,” he said. “They need to be aware that they have the right to that same help.”

So, once again, and far too often, another young life has been lost to the rising scourge of bullying.  To continue to minimize what is obvious, that bullying and teen suicides have become an epidemic of epic proportion, is to assure that we’ll keep seeing these occurrences on a near-daily basis.  And, that’s unacceptable.

Someone pointed out that “writing about it and making ‘It Gets Better’ videos isn’t enough.  I agree.  All of the efforts to stop bullying, from blogging to social media groups and pages to the It Gets Better campaign, are heartfelt and sincere.  And, to be sure, all of the efforts are having an impact.  I can state that factually based on emails I receive.  At the same time, more does need to be done.

  • The dialogue is now a dinner-table topic.  It’s in the news daily.  And, rightfully so.  More talk is needed.  More voices are needed.
  • Once again, in Rachel’s case, it is said that the response time from the school officials lagged.  That’s unacceptable.  That speaks to minimization.  That speaks to accountability.  What do you think would happen if every parent of every student in every school across the country delivered the message, together as one voice, “nothing is more important than the life of my child and, while they’re there in your care, you are wholly responsible for their safety and welfare“? 
  • Closer attention needs to be given to the emotional welfare of these young people.  Of course, the perfect vision of hindsight often reveals tell-tale signs of pending disaster, but that’s after the fact.  And, “after the fact” is too often too late.
  • Encourage young people to talk to an adult if they are being bullied!!!  Please.
  • And, always, always, always have resources readily available in the event you need them.  Communication is definitely essential:
Suicide Resources
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline
Befrienders
This video tribute does better than I ever could in saying how much Rachel meant to those close to her.  To the family and friends of Rachel, we wish you continued strength, courage, and love in the trying days, months, and indeed years that lie ahead.

Ignoring It Doesn’t Make it Go Away

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I read story after story, comment after comment about how some teen was bullied, they report the incident to the proper authorities, only to have it treated as it’s a non-issue.  Too many suicides have resulted from this.

In one high-profile case recently, a spokesman from the local Sheriff’s department went on record as saying that despite media and online reports of the teen’s suicide being a result of bullying, their “investigation” concluded that “that was not the case”.  Yet, my own personal contact with someone very close to the family and the situation told me exactly the opposite.  And, of course, it was later made know that bullying was, indeed, at the root of the suicide.  This wasn’t the first instance.  In the trailer for the controversial, and very necessary, movie, “Bully”, a teacher foolishly goes on camera to say that she’d “ridden on that bus” where a young boy was allegedly bullied and the kids “…were as good as gold”.  Ultimately, this boy committed suicide because of the bullying.

Sometimes, in some cases of bullying against LGBT teens, the victim is blamed for the bullying!!  In the case of one high-profile LGBT teen suicide from a couple years ago, the parents were told that if their son didn’t act [gay], he wouldn’t get bullied.  How is THAT acceptable?  That’s not “not taking bullying seriously”, that’s turning a blind eye to what’s going on.  Worse, that’s essentially sanctioning the violence because this boy was simple being himself.  The sad end result was him taking matters into his own hands and ending his life.  

On my facebook blog page, read comment after comment from real-life people who were bullied, went to the authorities, and nothing was done about it.

I was bullied in school for being “different”,”odd”, and my school did nothing about it. Often, they ignored it cuz the kids who did bully me were kids of pta and parents who supported and gave alot of money to the school. My dad fought hard to get me help because other stuff was going on due to bullying, like my academics. I was not sent to a private charter school till I was a junior in high school, and that was due to case workers and an advocate, because i tried to commit suicide more then 3 times in less then 2 yrs. While being at that special school, they (the school) found out I have autism. Had the school I attended prior would have taken the time to listen to my father, I would of been put in the right classrooms and would have gotten the help I needed from day 1. Even when I was in 9th and 10th grade, people where horrible to me. I wonder, now that we are adults, how they would feel if they found out they bullied a girl with disabilities to the point of trying suicide.  I wonder how they would feel, especially if they had kids…bullying needs to stop on all levels.  I just wanted to share my story.

That’s one of the comments left recently on my facebook blog page.  This is but one example.  Unfortunately, there are more.

Problem with schools, I’m a senior in high school, and in all my years in middle school (6-8) I was bullied and fighting back each year leading me to get kicked off to a new school each year….kinda sucks how “they who purposely care” really don’t…..well until until you’re pushed too far.

“Until you’re pushed too far” is 10 steps too late.  Bullying needs to be taken seriously, on all levels:  not only against LGBT teens, but against anyone who’s perceived different, anyone who doesn’t “fit in”.  School officials, elected officials, adults in general!, all need to be re-educated.  And, part of that re-education process needs to be making them acutely aware that ignoring the bullying issue doesn’t make it away.

Teen Suicide vs. Teen Smoking

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I am livid!!!  Driving down the highway yesterday, on my way to work, I hear a story on the all-news channel in my area.  Apparently, some official medical institution sounded the alarm about teen smoking.  “We are currently in a teen smoking epidemic.”  Wait.  Did I miss something?

Since the time that I was a teen, and even pre-teen!, myself, there’s been teens smoking.  Just plain fact.  That doesn’t make it good.  That doesn’t make it right.  Smoking is, in fact, detrimental to one’s health.  Cigarettes are the only consumer product that, if used as intended, will kill you.  That speaks volumes of the dangers of smoking.  True enough.  And, teen smoking?  Well, that’s surely an issue.  By no means do I want to minimize the issue of teens starting to smoke cigarettes.  It’s not good and, if continued, it will eventually kill them.  Eventually.  And, the reverse side of that is if they successfully quit smoking at some point in their lives, the dangers of smoking the known carcinogen goes away.  Eventually, completely.

Teen suicides.  Well, suicide is permanent.  Suicide isn’t a drawn-out process that takes years and, more likely, decades to become complete. (yes, there are some who will say that smoking cigarettes is, in fact, a form of suicide.  Just delayed.)  And, we’re seeing teens die of suicide every single day of the year. (don’t think for a second that just because we haven’t heard of one lately that they aren’t still occurring.  They are.)  So, where’s the press release for that!!??  Where’s the “crisis” announcement for the issue of teen suicide!!??  Why do they find it more important to go public with a story about an issue that has been around for as long as I can remember, even longer!, and present it as a right-now epidemic!!??

In my opinion, it speaks volumes to the importance our officials are putting on the true epidemic of teen, and LGBT teen, suicides.  And, that is an atrocity.  At least in my eyes.  Rather than devoted time, effort, and resources into an epidemic that is claiming lives right here in the here-and-now, they’re rehashing information that’s decades old and presenting it as some brand spanking new study and problem.  What sense does that make?  So, what do we say to the family of the next teen who commits suicide?  “Sorry for your loss, but at least he didn’t smoke.  That would’ve made it worse.)  Is it me?  Or, is there a real problem here?

Cigarette smoking is a real issue, don’t get me wrong.  I know first-hand because I’ve been a smoker, myself, for almost 30 years.  And, it’s always been my opinion that selling cigarettes, a product that is PROVEN will kill its users!!!, should be illegal.  That will never happen, though.  Political reasons. (for the fun of it, research how much money the tobacco industry gives BOTH major political parties.)  However, as stated previously, teens can quit smoking, thus reversing the deadly effects of the cigarettes.  Once a person has committed suicide, they’re gone.  We can’t reverse death.

Monster March Against Bullying

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I think my favorite line from their “info” section is:

While parents, school officials and politicians keep imposing well intended rules and policies, we teenagers know real change… starts with us.

My smile was ear-to-ear!  Christi O’Connor, of San Francisco, sent me an email last week telling me about their Monster March Against Bullying to be held in the City By The Bay in October (no specific date given yet) in hope that I would help her spread the word.  And, of course, that’s exactly what I’m going to do.  So far, in my opinion, this is the single greatest thing I’ve seen emerge in our collective struggle to bring an end to the bullying and help end the teen suicides, gay and straight alike.

The Monster March is a teen-created and teen-led protest marking a critical responsibility shift in solving our nation’s deadly bullying problem. This October, more than 10,000 of us teens from across the nation and around the world will march through the streets of San Francisco in what we plan to make “The Largest Teen Protest In History.” We will draw unprecedented awareness as we step into our power and claim our role in creating and putting into action our anti bullying solutions only teenagers can ensure work.

So, who is Christi O’Connor?  I can’t answer that in any other way than to say that she’s a driven teen who’s on a mission to make a huge difference in the lives of the teens who are bullied, to the families and friends of those who have committed suicide because of bullying.   Read her email to me for yourself:

Ron,
I’ve read a lot of what you write on bullying. Thank you. I’m the founder of the national youth led Monster March Against Bullying with The Rodemeyers, The Mowrys and many other bullying families behind our teens. Last Monday, we flew five headline making bullying families and many teens from around the country to help launch The Monster March.

We would love your help spreading the news of our teens’ invite to Lady Gaga and to President Obama to be at our 10,000 teen march against bullying in San Francisco this October. If you can ask all your followers to Tweet both letting them know your fans want both to join us, it will boost our profile and more teens will join us. The October march is just the celebratory finale of our teens’ year long campaign of projects they’re leading online, in classrooms and everywhere they can influence peers.

They want to recruit every teen they can.

Check out our FB page and our “Top 10 Teen Solutions” list. We change it every two weeks pushing to the top, the best in that time frame.

Also everything we have in our “Photos.”

Our teens include best friends and siblings of bullied teens from all over the country who’ve killed themselves. These teens are committed (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zVzNKZpqDDo)

Go to http://www.facebook.com/youthvoicetv

Warmly,

Christi O’Connor
Founder “The Monster March Against Bullying”

Amazing stuff.  And, she has a point:  for all the work we adults do, or try to do, to end this madness, ultimately it will be up to them, the teens, to take matters in their own hands and say “ENOUGH IS ENOUGH”!!!  That message coming from us, the concerned citizens, adults, and parents, carries some weight.  Things ARE happening albeit slowly.  However, that same message coming from THOUSANDS of teens is going to be impossible to ignore.  Add to their cause such influential, anti-bullying people as Lady Gaga and President Barack Obama, and the entire WORLD will have no choice but to stand up and take notice. (disclaimer:  as of this writing, invitations have been sent to Lady Gaga and the POTUS.  It’s not confirmed, yet, that either will be in attendance.  Let’s keep our fingers crossed.)  The family of Jamey Rodemeyer will be there in support of the Monster March Against Bullying, as will Jonah Mowry and his family.  I’m hoping that, by the time October rolls into San Francisco, many more family and friends of victims of bullying will be there in attendance.

The video attached to the email was the clencher.  Sixteen-year-old Liane, makes a very strong case for everyone to get involved by driving home the question “What are you waiting for?”  She had just lost a friend to suicide at the time she recorded the video.  The pain, the anguish!, is very visible on her face.  And, that pain isn’t isolated.  That pain and anguish is, sadly, shared all over the world every single day as yet another teenager ends their own life.

So, my question is the same:  What ARE you waiting for?  Every 18 minutes, another teenager ends his or her life.  And, for every successful suicide attempt, there’s 25 others who THANKFULLY didn’t success.  We’ve got an epidemic.  But, you don’t need me to tell you that.  I think that much is crystal clear.  What I do need to remind people, I feel, is that there’s still lots and lots of work that needs to be done before we’re able to claim victory.  Worse, rest assured that for everyone of “us” who are working hard and long to make a difference, there’s just as many if not more of “them” working just as hard and long to negate all of our efforts.

We will win this hard-fought battle.  I have complete confidence in that and can say it with 100% conviction.  However, the victory will not come without a long of hands-on effort.  And, what will, in the end, make the biggest difference will be teens, like Brett Simpson, like Christi O’Connor standing firm as they say to “The Establishment” ENOUGH IS ENOUGH!!  Let’s do our part in making this Monster March Against Bullying an overwhelming success!  “Like” their facebook page.  Watch the video.  Share both as often as you can.  The world is changing, and Christi O’Connor is right at the forefront of that change.