ALTERNATIVES IN NEED: A DISCUSSION ON TEEN SUICIDE BY RINGSIDE / SHADOWBOX MVMNT
With sad news hitting yesterday (courtesy of the New York Post) regarding a 14-year-old girl whom committed suicide, by jumping from her 15th floor bedroom window within the family’s New York apartment building, we’ve prompted our need to deliver this piece earlier than planned. The base of our original report centralized around one (extremely difficult to ask and for many, too complex to understand) question: Why are so many young people killing themselves?
Police sources told the New York Post that the girl had recently gotten into trouble for shoplifting, and had received a “poor” report from a parent-teacher conference prior in the same week. Sources state that her parents had tried everything in their power to open the bedroom door, in great desperation to save their daughter, yet it was too late, and this young teenager was declared dead at the scene (New York Post). We truly and dearly send our thoughts and payers to this family, and so many more, that will live in a state of mourning by which only they can find the peace deserved, when / if they become ready to accept it.
We wish for readers to look beyond this isolated situation, about a young girl and her frustration regarding a party, or a “poor report by teachers”, and maybe the embarrassment that comes with making a bad choice like shoplifting. She is just a young girl, and suicide, in essence, is an action that is derived from our fears, an emotion that is difficult for both children and adults to engage at any level. It is troublesome for many to comprehend, that people do not commit suicide because they dislike life. People commit suicide because they are in fear – of judgments, failures, misfortune, and so forth respectfully. So in an effort to help victims, and their families, it would be beneficial to help them, by not only instilling an appreciation for the life that they live, but equally, if not more so, a strong sense of gratitude and recognition for fearlessness.
Suicide is a personal choice, and a notion that has been expressed by many, is that “if we don’t have the freedom to die, we don’t have the freedom to live”. Does this mean we must come to terms and respect this choice? That answer is up to you. The truth in our opinion is that a deeper exploration of the mental health system, the issues that surround depression, suicide, and substance abuse, is a conversation of great importance (especially for the younger generation) that deserves to be had and prepared for, as a third of us will suffer from some sort of mental illness at some point in our lives. That means us, our friends, our families, and maybe even you.
I have come to realize that at times, emotions such as regret can be a source of motivation, and that human beings can utilize the feeling of despair and sadness to better navigate the direction to personal happiness. I have learned what is black, and what is white, and that there are problems, like suicide, in our society today, that have no quick, easy, or even challenging solution in motion. But the fact is; suicide is a major global problem that is currently ending the lives of far more young people than war and AIDS, and change must occur.
Why are so many young people killing themselves? Because for some people, sometimes, life becomes severely and extremely painful. In many cases, their is history (not just an isolated moment) of personal or family problems, and/or untreated mental illness. Victims of suicide may or may not be ill, but its evident they’re not living within an acceptable mind frame either, and in the moment, it’s very hard to see, acutely difficult to help in time, nonviable to ask the right questions, and nearly impossible to offer up the right answer. Young people kill themselves because, at the moment when they decide to take their own life, they can see no alternative, and this is where we have a possible chance for change to occur.
The more topics are openly discussed, the better the chances of alternatives for victims being discussed, ridding any shame or fear present, and allowing solution and acceptance to take hold. No child at the age of 14 should ever feel that the life in front of them isn’t worth living, nor that they have zero alternatives to the hardships they face. I learned this after losing a close family member to suicide, whom was the same age as this young lady, many years ago. As time as passed, I can think of twenty alternatives that could have helped break him free from the isolated pain he was experiencing. I conclude here, state with confidence, and ask the world: to please squash the shame and stigma surrounding mental illness, please talk as openly and unconditionally as you can, and try your best come up with alternatives to suicide, so you might know what question to ask, or even better – have the right answer to offer. That is the best solution we have for saving young lives, and understanding how to cope with hardships that accompany teenage suicide.
ARTICLE WRITTEN BY JOHN WHITMAN / FOUNDER & CO-EDITOR
NATIONAL 24/7 CRISIS SERVICES