Consider me lucky...
When I was younger, I was so sheltered that I had no idea what suicide was. I knew the basics: you need this to survive, you live "right" by doing that, be kind, read the Bible, respect your parents and your peers.
If I went online, my grandmother monitored me closely to make sure that I did not stray away from Nickelodeon and Cartoon Network's website. When I watched television, it was Naruto (which, come to find out, was more "adult" than we thought), Psalty The Singing Bible, Veggie Tales, Diff'rent Strokes, or The Nanny. I was watched very closely and, for that, I am now grateful.
Suicide is the act of taking one's own life intentionally. It is planned. It is calculated. It is deliberate. It is unbearable to think of an adult forming the thought of suicide, and now children are exposed to and also committing suicide at higher rates than ever before. My heart breaks when I hear yet another story of a child taking his/her own life before he/she has even lived.
It is difficult to shelter your children from the bullies at school, the bullies on social media, and even the bullies under their own roofs, but it has to be done. With puberty hitting boys and girls at earlier ages and hormones, emotions and dating placed on top of that, these young children struggle with keeping their minds at ease. This is where the parents work must begin.
Now that we have adequately been placed on notice of the threat of mental discourse, emotional instabilities and overall thoughts of suicide of these teens, the conversations must be had. Discuss bullies/bullying, discuss self-love, discuss something with your children to help them value their own lives and the lives of others. Children that bully learn this behavior from somewhere. If they learn it at school, then they are not learning to refrain from falling prey to that behavior at home.
As parents, you are the first teachers in your children's lives. You have the job of teaching them compassion, love, manners, respect, and the list goes on. If you drop the ball, then everyone else suffers.
To families like those of Mallory Grossman, a teen who took own her life due to bullying; Tysen Benz, who hanged himself after hearing news that his girlfriend committed suicide (which happened to be a horrible joke); and to the family of Imani McCray who committed suicide after being placed on timeout and seeing it done on the news, we owe much more than our condolences.
Parents, you owe a watchful eye and lessons of love. Children, you owe it to yourself to ask for help. Peers, you owe respect, at the very least. Humans, you owe humanity. We have to do better.
The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline has an easy-to-use website that provides warning signs for those potentially at risk of committing suicide as well as counseling for those assisting someone with thoughts of suicide. This is a 24-hour lifeline that you are able to call and/or chat with to receive suicide prevention help.
I encourage all to use the readily available resources. Do not be afraid to ask for help.
Blessings to all on behalf of the Let's Be Breef team.
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1 (800) 273-8255