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”  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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“To live is the rarest thing in the world. Most people exist, that is all.” ― Oscar Wilde

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