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Posts Tagged ‘Suicide

3 Things To Survive Bullying

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Since the beginning of October, I’ve known that it is National Bullying Prevention Month. I wasn’t planning on posting anything because I wasn’t sure what to say. After all, I’ve already told my story about being bullied in an opinion editorial.

Then today, I heard about Amanda Todd and the Youtube video she made: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vOHXGNx-E7E&feature=share

Her story has to be the most tragic case of bullying and suicide I’ve read yet. Not only did she die way too soon, she also never got what she really needed to overcome her pain and live. Based on what I saw in the video Amanda made and my own personal experience, here are three things that can help young people survive bullying:

  1. Support– When I say support, I mean mostly from friends AND family. Parents are a must, but having supportive friends shows that there are some peers your own age that like you and that not everyone is out to get you. It angers me that Amanda didn’t have good friends around when she needed them. In addition to support given by people, there are resources you can use to get help and music and books that can provide comfort. 
  2. Acceptance- If you like yourself even a little bit, then that will help you develop a resilient spirit. When I was bullied, I didn’t have much pride in myself, but I preferred being myself instead of being like everyone else. Furthermore, I knew that there were a few people who liked me for me. All Amanda knew is that some idiots liked her for her body and that and the lack of peer support led to her suicide.
  3. Empowerment- Ultimately, the support and acceptance combined should let you know that you have control over your life. The support I had and the small bit of self-acceptance I had allowed me to graduate high school and survive bullying. Tragically, the same can’t be said of Amanda.

3 Books That Will Comfort Bullying Victims:

  1. The Outsiders This book doesn’t deal with bullying exactly, but the main character Ponyboy feels the same need for acceptance and belonging as bullying victims do.
  2. The Geeks Shall Inherit The Earth This book is non-fiction and it informs the reader how the things that cause them to be excluded in school will benefit them outside it.
  3. On the Fringe– This book is a collection of stories  by well-known teen fiction authors. It will relate to anyone who is treated like an outcast.

3 Songs That Will Comfort Bullying Victims:

  1. The Messenger by Linkin Park-a song of comfort: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6etygnUXIWU
  2. Perfect by Pink- a song of self-acceptance:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-BIye98Ryic
  3. Don’t Jump by Tokio Hotel- a rallying song against suicide: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=axbYQfxqLX8

Suicide Resources:

National Suicide Prevention Site for Youth: http://www.youmatter.suicidepreventionlifeline.org/home/get-help/help-for-you/

Suicide Awareness Voices of Education: http://www.save.org/index.cfm?fuseaction=home.viewPage&page_id=7049F2F1-C9C4-C392-588484F7906539D6

Written by Serena Zola

October 12, 2012 at 9:10 PM

Op-Ed: Minnesota’s War on Gays

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I was typing up a completely different new post until I came across this article via the Huffington Post: http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/news/one-towns-war-on-gay-teens-20120202

My immediate reaction: ANGER.

How can anyone let these kids feel so bad that they chose to kill themselves?

How can the teachers in the school, who are supposed to be role models for the students, remain neutral on the subject of homosexuality, when showing and teaching tolerance could have prevented these deaths?

How can the others adults and students turn a blind eye to a student crying out for help?

How can some of the adults outside the school judge these poor kids based on stereotypes as well as what others have told them?

More people need a mind of their own and a compassionate heart.  People say, “Children are the future” but with every senseless death like these that future diminishes.

Written by Serena Zola

February 4, 2012 at 8:55 PM

8 Things to Save a Life Part 2

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In honor of Jonah Mowry as well as all the victims of bullycide, I have created a two-part post featuring songs and books that can be used to comfort any suicidal or bullied person. However, these posts are especially for children and teens.

Since part one featured the songs, this second part will feature the books.

The Geeks Shall Inherit The Earth by Alexandra Robbins

Many teens are bullied because they are different from most of their classmates. Some of them resort to suicide because they believe they will suffer the same treatment all throughout their life. With this non-fiction book, the author presents what she calls “the quirk theory”, which states that the things that cause them to be bullied in high school will be the things that people appreciate later in life. To support this theory, the author follows several real characters that are ostracized for being different and issues them a challenge to change their situation without changing who they are. In addition, the author features celebrities that were outcasts in high school before they were famous.

On the Fringe edited by Donald R. Gallo

This book features several stories by many prominent young adult authors. These stories tell what it is like to be an outcast, to be excluded for being different. Some of these stories are hopeful, while others are shocking, but all of them have a lesson to be learned.

Will Grayson, Will Grayson by John Green and David Leviathan

This fiction book tells the story of one gay teen and one straight teen who share the same name and what happens when they meet. A humorous yet serious story featuring love and friendship, this is a great book for anyone.

Rage by Jackie Morse Kessler

Another thing that teens may resort to when bullied is self-injury. Jonah Mowry did it and so does the main character in this book. After a humiliating bullying incident, Melissa Miller accidentally creates a fatal wound while cutting herself with a razor. However, when Death comes he offers her the chance to become War, a Rider of the Apocalypse. When Melissa Miller takes the job, she slowly learns something that helps her conquer her pain: control.

Written by Serena Zola

December 16, 2011 at 10:45 AM

8 Things to Save a Life Part 1

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This week I’ve been shocked by some tragic and happy news involving teens.

The happy news involved the support of Jonah Mowry, a gay teen who posted a heart-wrenching YouTube video this past August about his experiences with bullying. Recently, he has done an interview with Good Morning America about his ordeal.

The tragic news involves the death of Jacob Rogers, a gay teen who recently committed suicide due to bullying.

When I heard about the death of Jacob Rogers and the support of Jonah Mowry, I wondered what would have happened if the two had known about each other. Personally, I think that if Jacob Rogers had seen Jonah Mowry’s video, he would have gained the will to live and known that he wasn’t as alone as he felt.

In addition, I’m reminded of the things that gave me the most comfort when I felt lonely as a teen: music and books.

As a special gift to anyone, but especially any teen or child, who has been bullied or felt suicidal, I present in a two-part post, four songs and four books for comfort. I’d also like to dedicate these songs and books to Jonah Mowry and all the victims of bullycide (suicide due to bullying).

First, the songs:

Make It Stop by Rise Against

 

Don’t Jump by Tokio Hotel

 

Perfect by Pink

 

Beautiful by Christina Aguilera

STAY TUNED FOR PART TWO.

Written by Serena Zola

December 10, 2011 at 12:17 PM

Bullying: A Rant and Some Tips

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It seems like all year that I’ve been hearing things about bullying on the news and elsewhere. The headline usually involves a youth suicide, a youth beating, or an attempt to raise awareness about bullying. The latter is the most vexing to me, because it seems to focus on either GBLTQ youth (i.e. gay, bi-sexual, lesbian, transgender, queer/questioning) or asinine suggestions on how to prevent bullying. Most people think this is just a discrimination or education issue.

Until late 2010, it didn’t seem like we needed to put much effort into bullying prevention, because youth suicides and bullying casualties didn’t seem to happen much. One bullied kid kills themselves, and we just pass an anti-bullying policy in schools. Then, in September, five young people kill themselves because they were either gay or perceived to be gay. This event causes many musicians, authors, celebrities, politicians, activists, and other people to either raise awareness about bullying or come up with solutions.

Phoebe Prince. Jaheem Herrera. Jessie Haffer.

These are just a few of many young people who have committed suicide before the September’s Children’s Tragedy, not necessarily because they were gay, but because they were different.

It is for this reason, as well as intolerance, that caused the September’s Children to take their own lives. It is for this reason that more youth will continue to do this unless something is done.

Some adults say, “Kids will be kids.” Some teens do nothing or participate in the bullying for fear of being bullied themselves or to fit in.

The whole point of being a teenager is figuring out who you want to be, not what somebody else tells you to be.

How are teachers supposed to care about their students when all they’ve been told to do is prepare them for college and get good test scores to make the school look good?

How are parents supposed to raise their kids well if they either refuse to listen to their child’s views or assume they already know what is best for them?

How are students supposed to find who they are when they have to worry about being normal?

Parents, teachers, and students must be involved with one another for non-educational reasons as well as educational ones. Just because a student is making good grades, doesn’t mean that they are doing well. Adults around a student’s life need to be willing to ask, “How are you?” or “What’s wrong?” if they are troubled. Parents and teachers need to listen to students without judging them and try to see things from their point of view.

Students need to keep an open mind when dealing with their peers as well as adults. When it comes to peers, they shouldn’t make assumptions based on how a person looks or what clique they are from. They need to get to know a peer’s head and heart before they judge. In addition, they need to be willing to talk to a parent or another adult if they are having issues. Even though adults may not understand what it is like to be a teen today, if they are good people, then they should be willing to at least listen.

Ultimately, the key to ending bullying, or at least reducing it, is acceptance and tolerance of people’s differences and the willingness to find out what we have in common with each other.

According to the book, The Geeks Will Inherit The Earth, teens who are ostracized in high school because they are different will be admired for who they are in college and beyond. However, some teens can’t afford to wait that long.

Now is the time to unite and end bullying the right way; MAKE IT STOP!!

Written by Serena Zola

November 2, 2011 at 4:13 PM

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