Posts Tagged ‘Youth suicide’
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.
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While researching information about another unfortunate teen suicide, I stumbled across this sad posting on tumblr:
Rest Peacefully, dear.
Nathan Hamrick, 19 years old. He committed suicide this morning. His grandparents lived up main road, & he rode the bus home with me all the time. He used to drive me home when it was snowing outside. He took his life after a supposed fight between him & his Ex-Fiance. Mai heart goes out to those he was closest to. His family, and friends, and even those like me, who felt he was a genuine person. I hope you’re in a better place, Nathan. I only wish I could have stopped it from happening. You will never be forgotten. ♥~Tomorrow, there will be no school for those at mai High School. Councilors will be there to speak with anyone who needs to come. & There’s now a Facebook page devoted to him. It hasn’t been a day, & he’s missed so terribly. ♥
Granted, the last time I followed information of a teen suicide from that particular website, it turned out to be a terribly cruel hoax. Upon further investigation, sadly, I learned that this story is real. The word on one of the facebook memorial pages set up in Nathan’s honor is that he had gotten in a fight with his ex-fiance. However, that’s unsubstantiated. What is evident on this facebook page as well as the other one set up to memorialize him is that he was very well-loved by both family and friends. His mother posted this heart-wrenching farewell on one of the pages:
From his family, I want to say, Thank you to everyone that has said a kind word, called, visited or prayed. Nathan was/is the best of the best. His heart was as big as the world, but it could shatter with just one word. He would take his shirt off and give it anyone that needed it. He watched out for everyone but Nathan. He loved his friends, and he would have fought side by side any one of them. I was blessed to carry this precious young man inside my body for 9 months and then bring him into the world. I gave him life and yesterday morning at 7 am I once again tried to force my life inside of him, but this time Mommy couldn’t kiss his boo boo and make it better. I will always love you Nathan and baby I hope you have found peace.
Whatever it takes, and whatever the cost, we must figure out a way to drastically reduce the teen suicide rate. It’s staggering to me that this is the third one that I’ve written about this week alone, and it doesn’t stop there! What’s sobering is that these are only the ones I know about. Make no mistake: there are more.
The question that has to be asked, repeatedly, “what can we do better to prevent these young people from ending their lives?” I think removing the veil of secrecy would help a lot. The argument is made that publicizing these tragedies glamorize teen suicides and influences other teens to accept it as an option. NEWSFLASH: they’re doing it in record numbers in spite of this veil of secrecy. Suicide, and in particular, teen suicide is seen as a taboo subject. And, to this author, that is counterproductive. Blinding floodlights need to be shined on the subject so that awareness is raised and everyone can become better educated on how to prevent it. Clearly, the status quo is not working.
What would’ve saved Nathan Hamrick’s life? No one knows that answer; no one will ever know that answer. What, if anything, could’ve been done differently that would’ve saved his life? From everything I’ve read about this tragedy, there wasn’t a thing his family and friends could’ve done differently.
…Look at the kids. They’re reaching out to us, and we owe them more than what we’re giving them.”
We simply must find a way. Too many lives are being lost.
Rest in peace, Nathan
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