Suicide and Depression – What Part Do We Play?

This is based on a powerful speech my 13 year old daughter Allyssa gave to her class last year. I feel that the message is too important not to share. It’s a message that should be shared with all youth, as well as adults because sadly even at our age, we continue to fight this battle. ~ Sandy Bucholtz

Did you know suicide is the leading cause of non-accidental death among children and youth in Ontario? Three deaths every week. More children die from suicide than from cancer, heart disease, respiratory illness, and diabetes combined.

If this horrifying trend continues, how many of our own friends will we have to bury?

It’s time for change! It’s time for us to STOP! And start asking questions; why is this happening? Is there something we can do to turn things around?

Social media, bullying, and untreated mental health issues rank high on the list of factors people talk about, but I have to wonder if it could also be due to the hurtful, frequent efforts of dismissal we experience every day by our peers.

As a people watcher, I see countless acts of unprovoked dissing every single day in my school. You know what I’m talking about; the exaggerated rolling of the eyes, and heavy sighs, the rude comments, suggestive statements, and rumors. That feeling you get when you’re just being yourself, goofing around just doing your own thing and out of nowhere people start calling you “weird”Β  or “loser” and giving you those looks that let you know you are not behaving to someone else’s standards. We’ve all experienced them at one time or another. Even subtle comments that often get overlooked by others can be so hurtful.


Sometimes these things are done to tease, sometimes, they are done to make someone feel like they don’t belong. No matter what the reasoning behind it, it hurts. Yes, I realize that for most people doing the teasing and taunting, the whole point is to cause hurt. So I ask you this:

How many times can a person be treated so unfairly, or dismissed every time they speak before they start to wonder and eventually believe that they are just a waste of space?

If all that pressure alone weren’t enough, let’s not forget to add to it the pressure from the media with all the “loose weight”, “flawless skin”, “perfect grades”, “fashion first”, “must-have”, and “must-be’s” All around us, each of us is constantly hearing the same message “I am not enough” , “I will never be enough”. How can we not question our worth?

Maybe I can’t change the media, and I may not be able to change my school. All I can do, is do what I can. I will choose to treat my peers like they matter, even if they don’t wear the same clothes, think the same thoughts, or get the same grades as me. I will accept them even though they are different, because at least if they are different, I know it’s because they have the courage not to be a carbon copy of someone else.

~ Allyssa Bucholtz
Our behaviors, our attitudes, affect the lives of those around us. Our smile can mean the world to someone struggling within. Smile at strangers, be generous with your compliments, be gentle with people who may be having a rough day (or month). You make a difference, good or bad, every day you leave your mark. Is yours the mark of someone who’s made a positive difference? When you are courteous to others, others are courteous to you. Embrace the power you have to shape the world around you!

Embrace your Awesomeness!

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  1. Sandy Bucholtz

     /  October 11, 2012

    I totally agree, and I will share your comments with Allyssa. In a perfect world, we all could love more easily…I so appreciate you sharing your story Jen, and yes, we are all humans, and we all make mistakes that we aren’t proud of. We live, we learn, we strive to be better. That’s what makes us so incredibly precious πŸ™‚

  2. This is def def so true, and I can honestly say that I have been on both sides of the fence 😦 sad but true! As I sit here and admit that I was once the tormentor I think to myself WOW!! looking back on it really puts things into perspective 😦 I try not to be a mean person, but being human is all I can say that I am. Great speech Allyssa πŸ™‚ I am sure that this will really leave an impression in everyone’s mind for years to come! Bullying is not something new, it has been around for years, but it is up to us to make it STOP!! This brought a tear to my eye because as many, I have lost more than one friend to suicide, living in a life where so many people think there is no other way out is scary, there must be another way?? xo Jen

  3. My heart goes out to you and your children. You’re absolutely right about ‘bullies’, they struggle with battles within themselves. I strongly believe that we reflect onto the world what we feel inside ourselves. This is where “Embrace Your Awesomeness” comes from. Sometimes all those negative emotions need is a new perspective πŸ™‚ Thank you so much for sharing your story.

  4. thank you for sharing your story Fred πŸ™‚ I totally agree, a smile goes a long, long way. I don’t think as people we truly understand the degree of impact we have on other people in each moment of our lives.

  5. I have two children one preteen and one teen, they are the unique dreams of the inner soul. They don’t like to be the same as everyone else, a good quality in my eyes. But as of late, especially last school year the kids began there harmfull son wouldn’t even ride the bus, the school told me to buy him an ipod so he could tune out the comment…I said that is crap. My daughter is a heavier build and girls and boys alike started taunting her so bad she ran away from school one day, she wouldn’t go back. Luckily my mom was willing to help and we let her stay at her house to attend their school district. I would have moved but I have a morgage and business I can[‘t get up and walk away from. It is sad to see the hurt…I understood how they felt because in my high shool years we moved form one district to another and I was taunted alike, for being differant..for writing poetry, for not being branded with clothes. It happens every where, and us parentas and other adults have to take a stand along with our children. We have to love beyond the hate, I have learned the bulliers are usually tormented at home or so uncomfortable with their self they have to bring someone else down to feel better…we all must take off our blinders…

  6. Fred D Hollands

     /  September 17, 2012

    I am 67 years old. I was picked on in school. Now I have friends wherever I go. I was luck enough to have had a strong will to succeed. A smile and common courtesy is so easy to offer and brings better responses from all around. Practice your smile, it is easy and the more you do it, the more it becomes not second nature but first response. It works and it is so beautiful to see.
    Wishing you all well. Fred

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