Suicide Prevention

LXXXIV: To Be A Child...

To be a child today is to be fearful and [hopefully] religious.

I want to start by saying that, children today have to be way stronger than I had to be as a a child and, for that, I feel so badly. They deal with issues that force them to grow up way faster than I could ever fathom having to grow.

We see it in the news, we see it in their actions as they get older and we see it in their faces, children have to deal with a lot, and this post is just to bring attention to a couple of the things that children may be dealing with that we may be ignoring.

FEAR IN ATTENDING PUBLIC SCHOOLS

Unfortunately, school shootings have become a thing that we see all too much. If there isn’t an actual school shooting, then there is a threat of yet another.

Students in elementary, middle and high school can’t even deal with the pressures and hard work tied to getting their education because they have to worry themselves with whether or not today will be the day that someone goes through with such senseless acts.

I remember being young and being afraid of the fire alarms going off, so I can’t even imagine having to deal with this type of fear as a youth.

EXPOSURE TO DEATH/SUICIDE/HOMICIDE

Never have we seen an influx in child suicides similar to what we have seen in these past couple of years.

The rate at which children are committing suicide, or turning on the television only to see senseless killing, or are otherwise exposed to death is alarming. It results in them learning these ways and starts the manifestation of these thoughts and actions.

When I was younger, I had no clue what suicide was let alone how to commit it myself, so the fact that children who are younger and younger, know what it is and how to do it is insane to me and, I’m sure, to their parents as well.

It takes additional work, but there has to be some elements of youth and innocence that we allow children to keep for a while — for their adulthood sanity and for their survival.

SOCIAL PRESSURES

When you’re young, you’re usually also impressionable whether you’ll admit it or not. The social pressures of everything around you seem appealing and, sometimes, you cave into things that you know are wrong.

These days, the pressures are endless, and I feel so badly for the children and the amount of strength that they have to exercise daily!

Now, when I was younger, I wasn’t interested in people apart from my family. I hung out with my grandma, dad and aunt all the time and when I wasn’t with them I was following my older sister around. They were my people of preference (and still are). As far as everyone else was concerned, it was hard to even get a word out of me until the end of middle school. So I was not fully exposed to social pressures the way that the youth are today.

But, I am here to say to any youth that come across this post:

The real strength is shown by your own restraint. Save ‘taking chances’ for the things that can change your lives for the better.

SOCIAL MEDIA

Social media is super present in the lives of children. Parents are giving their kids tablets for games and Youtube; teens are requesting phones and registering for apps like Twitter, Facebook and Instagram; and within all of these apps are those whose goal in life is to, in one way or another, harm children.

We all know that social media is a huge problem when you get the youth in the mix, so I am not even going to touch this topic apart from acknowledging that it is a problem.

LACK OF ADEQUATE PARENTAL FIGURES

Now, I’ll preface this by saying that there are a lot of good parents out there who are doing their absolute best to raise upstanding children, but there are also a lot of people out there who are completely neglecting their children. This leaves them to be raised by their surroundings, or what they see on the television or in movies, or really just anything else.

Even for the parents who are there and provide financially but do not talk to their children, or check on their children, or who just shove electronics into the faces of their children instead of being in their lives — these acts are, by definition, a lack of parental presence.

The youth of these upcoming generations need their parents more than ever. They need guidance more than ever. And, they need good examples more than ever.

Simply being there and listening to your child can go such a long way, but it’s something that so many parents forget…

Children will forever be the future, so why not be an integral part of the reason that they are great?

X: Could We Have Saved Them?

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

http://www.nydailynews.com/life-style/health/teen-girls-committing-suicide-alarming-rate-article-1.3384601