Monday, December 20, 2010

Suicide Stories Still Sadly Relevant

Fourteen years ago, a small group of brave teenagers in Bristol, Connecticut -- some of the earliest students of Youth Journalism International, though it wasn't even called that then -- tackled the tragic topic of teen suicide.
They combed through death records and did eye-opening and painful interviews with survivors, mostly parents, of teens who had taken their own lives. Though years had passed, these parents could never forget.
They spoke with teens who tried to kill themselves, and happily, didn't succeed.
These teens, Amanda Lehmert, Brian LaRue, Danielle Ouimet and Bryan Pena, had some help with the research, but they did the writing.
The whole group won awards for the work, but more importantly, they touched readers who continue to find these stories today.
The holiday season can be tough at times, and too many look to suicide as a way out.
The young people who wrote our initial suicide project -- and the many teens who followed with other stories about suicide and depression over the years -- did that work in hopes that they might prevent even one young person from taking that terrible, irreversible step.
They did it to comfort survivors, the family and friends left behind with their grief, never understanding why.
This holiday season and always, please remember that suicide is a permanent end to a temporary problem.
Life is good, and while middle school, high school and even college years can sometimes be rough, it does get better.
Today, I offer readers a link to those initial stories and others about suicide and depression, written by teenagers, for teenagers and the people who care about them. The cartoon above is by YJI editor and alum Katie Jordan, drawn when she was a high school student working on a package about depression.
To see the stories on suicide and depresssion, click on this link.
If you need help, don't keep it to yourself. Tell a friend or a trusted adult, and call the suicide hotline nearest you. You can find it by searching online or looking in the phone book.

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