teens becoming popular after their suicide, we start caring when it’s too late

It usually ends with a neighborhood full of people caressing candles in their hands, tears running down cheeks, dozens and dozens of flowers everywhere and a portrait of the deceased. The school usually has a ceremony of some sort where students gather and pray. The story makes the news, trends on Twitter and becomes the latest controversy on Facebook. Suddenly, everyone in the United States becomes familiar with the name and story. Everyone is heartbroken. Students from the high school are interviewed and they all say things about ‘how she was so pretty’ or ‘he was the nicest guy ever’ or ‘so many of us were your friends, and we all loved you so much.’ But if that was really the case, then why did this person feel the need to end their life? Why did this person commit suicide because she/he was being bullied at school? Why does everyone all of sudden like this person, when they are dead? Where were we when this person actually needed us, and probably begged for us to be there for them? Why did this person feel so alone and like everyone hated them if ‘so many of us were your friends, and we all loved you so much’?
Teen suicide has sadly become so popular and common that it’s not unusual to hear of a story about another teen who decided to hang themselves, or overdose on pills or put a bullet right through their skull. In fact, suicide is so common today that it is ranked the third leading cause of death among the ages of 15-24, and is the fourth leading cause of death among 10-14 year olds (teensuicidestatistics.com.) To give you even more chills, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures, it is reported that the suicide rate among the ages 15-24 has increased 6 percent and ages 10-14 the rate has increased 100 percent.
Let’s go back to this cliche statement ‘so many of us were your friends, we all loved you so much.’ Why didn’t any of you stand up for this teenager that was clearly being bullied? If so many of you cared and loved this human being then why did none of you try to help? Teensuicide.us claims that each person who ends up committing suicide has actually attempted suicide 25 times. 25 times. How did all of this go unseen? All of the warning signs just didn’t exist? No. They existed, but you ignored them. You didn’t think it was that serious. You didn’t want to look like a ‘loser’ talking to the person who got bullied every day at school. But now that the person is dead, you care.
The Amanda Todd story is a perfect example. On September 7, a 15 year old girl from Vancouver, Canada uploaded a video to YouTube. The video was in black and white with her face out of the frame, she held oversized note cards to the camera that contained writing on them, thoroughly explaining what she had been through. After watching the video you learn about her story. She ends the video with a card that says ‘I have nobody, I need someone.’ On October 10, just a little over a month after posting this video she was dead.
Now her name is trending on Twitter. There are Facebook statuses about her. People are making tweets, saying how much they will miss her, and how much they cared and loved her. She begged for someone to be there for her, and nobody came to her side. She sat alone at lunch. And this video floated around YouTube for 33 days, and she still felt alone. She still killed herself after pleading for a friend.
It happens in almost every suicidal teen case. The teenager gets popular after they die. The whole student body is suddenly their best friend. Now everyone wants to be there for him/her. Everyone wants to bring him/her back. It. Is. Too. Late. We start caring once the person is dead. We want to reach out to the person once he/she is dead. We have to actually care when the person has a beating heart. Usually all it takes is one person to prevent the lonely and depressed teen from killing themselves.
The number of suicidal deaths is almost as high as homicide and HIV/AIDS deaths combined (web4health.info.) 19.3% of high school students have seriously considered killing themselves, and 14.5% of high schoolers have actually attempted suicide according to teensuicidestatistics.com. These percentages are simply too high, especially among our age group. Our life hasn’t even begun in high school. We have so much to live for, so much more to experience and enjoy. We have to start taking things more seriously. We never know when a person from our English class is planning on going home and ending everything.
We can’t wait until it’s too late, and then start caring. Once they’re dead, unfortunately there’s no bringing them back. Care when there’s a chance of prevention. We shouldn’t be used to hearing stories about how teens were pushed to the edge and they committed suicide. We need to make this less common.
Instead of making tweets with the hashtag ‘RIPAMANDA’ we should’ve been hashtagging “AmandaImHereForYou’ the day that video leaked to YouTube, then maybe it wouldn’t have been too late. Instead of holding candles and roses in remembrance of someone we should watch them blow out birthday candles and celebrate a new year with them.