Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Depression Kills

With all the emphasis that's been put on bullying and bullycide, it's easy to lose track of the reality that those aren't the only reasons for teen suicides.  In many cases, whereas bullying may have played a role, depression was the driving force.  Depression claimed Jamie's life even though there had been some bullying.

While educating both students and school faculty about bullying, its effects, and how to prevent it is essential, it is equally crucial for both groups to understand the effects and symptoms of depression.  Education in both areas will definitely save lives.

My friend, Barb Hildebrand, creator of the facebook page Suicide Shatters, shared this on her site.  I think it would be a very effective tool for educating about depression.  In agreement with Barb, I believe this program should be implemented in every school across the country, and around the world.  There's no way to have enough tools available to fight this plague of teen suicides.  That said, I strongly encourage every one to push to get this program implemented in your local schools.  If you're parents, if you have younger siblings, if you have friends who could be at risk, wouldn't you feel better knowing that everyone in their school is being educated about depression and how to deal with it?  I know it would certainly give me a little peace of mind.

Experts believe that approximately 1 in 8 teens suffer from depression.  That's an alarming number!  Educating yourselves is not important:  it's imperative.  Then, having the school's faculty and, certainly, the teens themselves educated as well will go a very long way towards our goal of eliminating teen suicides.

From Lemons to the Sweetest Lemonade

I am an administrator on one of the facebook pages set up in honor of Jamie Hubley.  It's an outstanding community of loving, sharing, and caring.  In that community, I've met people who are now very dear to me, people I consider true friends, and people who are more of my family than any of the posers who share my same blood.  Also in that community are many of Jamie's family members and friends.  I guess that's what makes it so special. 

One of the people in that group is Steph.  Steph and Jamie were friends for 10 years before his October suicide.  Steph is a breath of fresh air.  Being a normal teen, she's gone through everything that most teens go through, including the bullying.  And, she's stronger because of it.  So strong, in fact, she's begun doing motivational speaking in her area to other teens. 

Her story is one that will resonate with other young people.  I know it will because tonight, for the first time, Steph shared her story with us.  See, she was getting picked on because of who she is and where she is in life.  Her head sticks just a bit above the crowd.  You know what happens next.  True to form, the verbal tomatoes began to fly.  Rather than wilt under the weight of their criticisms, Steph opted to respond.  She did more than respond.  She knocked the wind straight out of their sails.

Inside "the Jamie community", which is what it's called by many, we get a lot of people who are hurting, in one way or another.  Sometimes, it gets really intense as we do have young people within the community who sometimes feel there's no other way out.  The word is out, though, that this is definitely a go-to spot for people who are in need, young and not-so-young.  There's never, ever a shortage of people who are there ready to give a listen and help out to the best of their ability.  Never.  And, there's Steph.  She is always one of the ones who are right there in the thick of it all when things intensify.  She's truly a remarkable girl, and she's changing lives.

Life dealt her a lot of lemons from a very early age.  With them, she's made some of the sweetest lemonade you'll find anywhere.