Kids and suicide - I need you to read this and need YOUR help for today & for as long as it takes, so please read and share - widely!
We've heard this morning from the family of Chloe Kinsella, entreating other young people to seek help http://www.independent.ie/irish-news/if-the-pressure-gets-to-you-just-go-and-seek-help-the-family-of-chloe-kinsella-makes-special-plea-29636080.html.
For them to do so at the time of their own tragedy, in the rawness of their grief, says much of their love and compassion and deepest condolences are sent to them as they come to terms with such terrible loss.
Suicide is a word I wish we could wipe from kids vocabularly, they're too young to need to even think of such things and surely too young to act ? But act they do, leaving a trail of misery and unfullfilledness behind, which is carried forever by parents, family, friends - life never the same again, a piece of them dying too, hope crushed.
We have to accept not our wish to protect but the reality of the times in which we live, where bullying, life pressures can have such devastating impact on our children, that they come to see suicide as the solution to life.
We live in times where image, fashion, sexuality, relationships can be areas of exagerrated importance and become extreme pressures for our young people, overlay on that the stresses of education, maybe family with financial worry, unemployment, fear of eviction, emigration, families discord and to the mix the change from child to adult and the struggle of 'finding' themselves, the strong social idealism young people often have and for many kids we come close to what they believe to be THEIR REALITY.
As adults we may see it with different perspective but it's THEIR perception and interpretation that creates their thoughts and those thoughts that become a spiral down, thoughts that continue to form and take control, a voice in their heads that manipulates, convinces suicide is the solution. We have to challenge that voice, stop it taking control, stop it convincing!.
2 years ago @lavenderlens and me decided to make a video to try to open dialogue about 'depression' as mental illness is often described, we wanted to help those rid the stigma, help those who were ill and in doing so we started a project that is now established with websites, support links and more - lives have been saved with your help by this crazy thing called twitter.
Our first step in helping was a video 'It starts with you' - it dealt with suicide and by cruel irony contained a story delivered by the sister of a young girl, just 17, drowned in the Shannon. Though years later, the parallel with Chloe Kinsella cuts deeply.
Later we added a website section on bullying, included by need, the result of contact from, amonst others, a young girl blinded by bullies and a parent who's child's friend had taken her life because of bullying.
Privately parents have contacted for help for their kids on too many occasions to recall but all were desperate for support.
We created an educational pack, approved by teachers to ensure standard - it's here: http://irelandphoto.com/dph/education/
We offered it to educational bodies involved in curriculum design and to two Ministers involved in Education and Mental Health - without courtesy of any reply. Yet we hear each time another child dies by suicide of the need for 'something to be done'and we also hear the absolute lip service of those who need to be doing the 'something'.
So with another young life lost, I'm asking you to do 'something' instead.
The 'something' is to start to educate your kids and young people and ensure that Cloe Kinsella is the last beautiful, loving, talented kid to believe the only solution to life, is death.
I'm asking YOU as a parent, a sister, brother, aunt, uncle, grandparent, cousin, friend, teacher, carer or any other to please help protect our kids.
Please review this package http://irelandphoto.com/dph/education/
and this on bullying http://www.depressionhurtsireland.com/bullying.html
and this FREE APP with emergency contacts: http://irelandphoto.com/dph/app/
and this http://depressionhurtsireland.tumblr.com/ and this http://www.depressionhurtsireland.com/uploads/1/1/3/6/11367382/dph_helpful_hints.pdf
Please sit with your child - age appropriate - and watch it with them - please talk with them - please MAKE THEM UNDERSTAND HOW MUCH THEY ARE LOVED AND VALUED - please reinforce that daily. Please help them know there is help if they ever feel they want to talk, if they feel depressed, if they feel bullied, or they feel not good enough or the many other thoughts that can undermine your child and make them silently see suicide as a solution to the problems in their life.
PLEASE take this to their teachers and get this stuff included in the curriculum.
#depressionhurts holds no monopoly, nor ego, when it comes to achieving the desired result of positive mental health/positive life, so here's a whole load of other stuff, I'm asking you to open and review just so YOU know and YOUR child knows there is help for them if it's ever needed - in a place/way that suits them best.
http://depressionhurtsireland.tumblr.com/ (created by a young person for others)
Finally - you may feel your child is ok and doesn't need to know and I wish so much your child may NEVER need any of this but I can promise you across this country are parents who felt the same but who sadly, so sadly, have found they were wrong and with children as young as just 12. Please let's try to make sure there are no more!
Thank you so much.