Former interim leader of the Liberal Party of Canada, Bob Rae is calling for a national strategy on suicide. While Rae is undoubtedly moved by sadness, he has failed to do his homework. What we do not need is another committee wasting scarce resources to study what is already known. We do need better access for people so that they can get the treatment that they need.
The last couple months have taught me a lot about youth, bullying and the politics of it all. As I tell the youth, I am "just a guy named Tad" and I am not an expert or professional on this topic at all. Having reflected on this recently, I believe it is safe to say that I do know a lot about bullying however, directly from the source ... the youth.
Well another school year has just started and "Bullying Ends Here" is in high demand across North America. I am on a mission to continue telling the world about a boy named Jamie Hubley and hope that his story, along with my own, will show youth that they have support and have someone that they can communicate with through email at any time. I have received over 5000 emails in 6 months and I respond to each and every one of them. That is my commitment to youth. I will help any way that I can.
Is suicide really contagious? Along with celebrity suicides, research has linked copycat deaths to news stories describing specific locations and/or methods of committing suicide that increases the likelihood of vulnerable people killing themselves in the same way. However, looking at the data on a per-country basis reveals a different story about how suicide is reported, and why.
When I read a recent blog post addressing "indecent girls" that the author's sons may encounter online, the first people that I thought of were Amanda Todd, Rehtaeh Parsons, Audrie Pott, and Cherice Morales. In each of these cases, the girls became social pariahs. In each of these cases, the girls committed suicide after enduring bullying and slut-shaming both online and offline. All because of that toxic mentality.
Unlike most emotional injuries, the core and source of the pain never changes at all -- I can go right back to December 5, 2006 literally in a heartbeat. I try not to do that, and therein lies one of the fundamental truths of the matter. Even I thought that by now I'd be free of the worst effects of my experience, I've come to realize that that sort of wishful thinking doesn't ring true.
I need the medications to stay healthy. My need is not one that comes from weakness; it comes from an underlying chemical imbalance that talk therapy alone could not fix. People still tell me there are ways of treating my illness that don't include drugs. I wonder if they say the same thing to their friends with high blood pressure and diabetes?
But could Marilyn Monroe's own writings provide clues about her suicidal intentions? Many of the letters, poems, and personal notes that Monroe wrote in the years leading up to her death were recently collected in a single book, Marilyn Monroe's Fragments. Her writings have only recently become available for serious study by suicide researchers.
Anytime a celebrity or somebody in the spotlight, like Mindy McCready, takes his or her own life we tend to only talk about the issues facing that specific person. Maybe its easier to talk of somebody everybody knows of. I've talked about why I was grateful I'm still living because, as I've learned, I have a lot to live for. I saw that first hand after my two suicide attempts.
On a warm evening last May, officer Pauline Nguyen went into her backyard and shot herself with her police service revolver. The death of this popular 24-year-old police officer stunned people in her hometown of Thunder Bay. There have been other attempted and threatened suicides from overstressed officers. And the pressures are about to get worse. On March 31, the Conservative government will terminate the Police Officer Recruitment Fund (PORF). The loss of this funding will mean lay-offs of 11 more police officers. Such a loss will add pressure to an already overstretched force.
It is the stigma, the shame and prejudice attached to the phrase "mental illness" that keeps people from accessing care. Mental illness is not in the mind; it is in the brain. Changing the name from "mental" to brain illness can be the beginning of a change in attitude towards those of us with these illnesses.
A study made last summer by Nanos Research and the Institute for Research on Public Policy ranks aboriginal issues as the least important concern among Canadians. I was recently delayed at Union Station for four hours due to an Idle No More blockade. An attendant announced in a surly tone that the train had been stopped due to "une manifestation d'Indiens." Contrary to news reports, my fellow passengers weren't "taking it in stride." Many groaned but didn't speak; I wrote down some of the comments others shared about "the lazy Indians."
What a mess. It was inevitable that Kate's pregnancy would have given birth to breathless media coverage and celebration whenever it was divulged. It should have been happy, frothy, celebrity news. Instead, a woman going through a very rough, early pregnancy goes to hospital and the whole world knows about it. A nurse, fooled by broadcasters, mistakenly transfers a call that should have been hung up on, and is found dead days later. It is a sad, macabre state of affairs.
It's now been two weeks since the tragic, allegedly bullying-induced suicide of B.C. teenager Amanda Todd first made headlines around the world, but if the steady output of Canadian editorial pages is any indication, there's still much to say. It's hard to deny the sheer poetic justice in the volume of sympathy and thoughtfulness born from the aftermath of an episode of such overbearing nihilism and cruelty. Not that some haven't gone too far, of course.
I was called every name in the book, my locker was vandalized, but I did nothing. I simply tried to ignore it all. Every day in the first half of my freshmen year I was reminded what the kids thought of me, and those thoughts weren't nice ones. Eventually, magically, they stopped bullying me, and ended up ignoring me. It was a nice trade off, but my mind, my thoughts and my future were already damaged.