Posts Tagged ‘teen suicide’
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.
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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.
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