I was watching CBS News Sunday Morning this morning and was so touched (and disturbed) by this feature on teen suicide.
High school junior Alexandra Valoras, a straight-A student, class officer, and robotics whiz, nonetheless felt she wasn’t ever good enough; hiding her despair behind a sunny disposition to the outside world, she ended her life before her 18th birthday. Jim Axelrod talks with the young woman’s parents, friends and teachers about the signs that were missed; the private journals in which the girl wrote down strikingly uncharacteristic words of pain; and how Alexandra’s mom and dad are bringing a message of awareness to other students.
If you are in crisis: Please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255), or contact the Crisis Text Line by texting TALK to 741741
Here was a beautiful young teenaged girl, smart, top of her class and always pushing herself to perfection. Only, to end up taking her life by suicide.
It reminds us all that “suicidal ideation” comes in all shapes, forms, ages, and can affect every single one of us. Even those closest to us, we might never have a clue.
Please continue to check in on each other, and then without being a total nuisance, keep on checking and communicating with each other. Ask probing questions… “how do you feel?, what are your hopes and dreams?, are you happy with your life?, do you need to talk about anything bothering you?, etc.”
James Donaldson notes:
Welcome to the “next chapter” of my life… being a voice and an advocate for mental health awareness and suicide prevention, especially pertaining to our younger generation of students and student-athletes.
Getting men to speak up and reach out for help and assistance is one of my passions. Us men need to not suffer in silence or drown our sorrows in alcohol, hang out at bars and strip joints, or get involved with drug use.
Having gone through a recent bout of depression and suicidal thoughts myself, I realize now, that I can make a huge difference in the lives of so many by sharing my story, and by sharing various resources I come across as I work in this space. http://bit.ly/JamesMentalHealthArticle