Thursday 11 October 2012


"Imagine all the people living life in peace. You may say I'm a dreamer, but I'm not the only one. I hope someday you'll join us, and the world will be as one." ~ John Lennon

I have a dream, too. My dream is that our youth have the opportunity to reach their full potential in this life. A young life cut short is a tragedy. Quite simply, it's a nightmare.

Do you know what the second leading cause of deaths among 10-24 year olds in Canada is? Suicide.

There are a few startling things about that statistic, aren't there? First, we are talking about suicide. Second, 10 year olds?! My nephew is nine and my niece is 12. I think about all that they have to look forward to in life and how incredibly devastating it would be if either of them chose death. Devastating.

I hadn't planned to write anything today. I've been home ill with a stomach bug and while I was tucked away in the comfort of bed, a family was experiencing the worst thing possible - they were reeling from the discovery that their 15 year old daughter, Amanda, had taken her life. Hits close to home - she was from greater Vancouver.

Whenever I hear about a suicide, a tiny piece of my heart breaks. But I also feel my resolve strengthen, my dedication to raising awareness about teen suicide in particular, becomes even greater. So, you see, I simply had to write.

“There are wounds that never show on the body that are deeper and more hurtful than anything that bleeds.” ~ Laurell K. Hamilton, Mistral's Kiss

Amanda suffered at the hands, and words, of bullies. She was beaten up physically and mentally and her pain and humiliation was shared throughout the cyber world. To paraphrase B.C. Premier Christy Clark's statement today, bullying or being bullied is not a rite of passage and it has to stop.

As adults we often explain away signs of distress or depression in our kids as "growing pains" - oh, she's just a teenager or it's just hormones. Not always.

Suicidal youth rarely make a direct plea for help. But most will exhibit warning signs. Courtesy of the Canadian Children's Rights Council and the Canadian Mental Health Association, here are some of these signs:
  • Sudden change in behaviour (positive or negative)
  • Apathy, withdrawal, change in eating patterns
  • Unusual preoccupation with death or dying
  • Giving away valued personal possessions
  • Signs of depression; moodiness, hopelessness
  • One or more previous suicide attempts
  • Recent attempt or death by suicide by a friend or a family member

Please, share this blog, talk to your kids, and take a stand. Each of us can make a difference.

In the end, I don't think that John Lennon's dream is all that different from mine. All any of us want, what we need, is a little peace.

KB xo

P.S. May you rest in peace, Amanda. For more information about Amanda's story:

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