I have given a lot of thought about my need to transform my pain and grief into helping other people, especially young people. With an open mind and an open heart, I sent that message to the universe.
Apparently, the “lessons of my soul” are just beginning. Remarkable people have been put in my life. I believe that they are here for a reason. I’m not sure how it will all play out, but I do believe I am gaining a focus and direction. It feels like I may be learning how to be of service.
It was an honor and a privilege to be a part of the Human Library at the Canadian Student Leadership Conference 2014 on September 27th!
The two women, who were with me, energized me. Lisa and Liane are passionate and knowledgeable about the issues surrounding teen suicide. They know what’s relevant and are working smart. These women are able to capture the attention of young people. Liane has even built an amazing phone app that could very well save lives. Check out her app”Lifeline” on lifeline.com.
Knowing these two ladies has been enlightening. I am getting an education from experts. I believe at my core that educating teens about these issues and giving them solutions will make a difference.
Our students are ill equipped to handle the crisis. I agree with Liane and Lisa that educating the educators and the students will save lives. This is vital. It’s not just about making students aware. It’s about stopping the cycle. These students will someday become adults.
It really hit home when Liane and Lisa shared the sad statistics. Every year there are 300,000 people that die from armed conflict….in contrast…there are 800,000 people that take their own life. Every 40 seconds, someone ends their life.
At the conference, the kids were gathered around in a “round table” forum. When they were asked if they knew someone who had committed suicide the hands went up. At every single table, there were more than 8 hands that were raised. Of these students (children really) 64 had been personally affected by someone taking their own life.
Everyone needs to be able to openly talk about depression and mental health issues. Many of the students at our table had experienced it. But they haven’t talked about it. They are afraid. They don’t know how their peers will react. Their schools are not encouraging the conversation. There is still so much shame directed towards our youth regarding depression and mental illness.
So many graduates from our schools do not have the coping skills and knowledge to deal with anxiety or depression. Sitting at my roundtable with these awesome students, I learned so much.
The numbers still stagger me. If there was a virus that took that many lives, the World Health Organization would call it a pandemic. They would be researching vaccines and looking for the cure.
Very few seem to be working on the suicide pandemic. The more we ignore it the larger it becomes. It really does break my heart. I have lost my beautiful son. I can only hope and pray that I may help someone else’s son or daughter.