Guest Contributor: Allie Diamond
Instagram: Allie Diamond
Instagram: Allie Diamond
The words I have to share with you today may or may not be a surprise to you. If you are living in Utah and you are between the ages of 10-17, you fall into the age group that happens to have the highest suicide rate in the state of Utah. If you narrow this group down further, girls ages 10-17 are increasing at a higher rate of suicidal ideation/attempts/completions than boys. Do you know what the number one reason for suicidal ideation is for young people in general ages 10-17? If you guessed Bullying or Cyber Bullying, you are exactly right.
Along time ago, I was in your age group. It was the 1980’s. I was bullied for more reasons than I can count. Some of them were:
Having too much money, not having enough money, not having nice enough clothes, having clothes that were too nice, my nose and chin were “weird,” and I was also considered to be “overweight” by my peers. During my 5th grade year, I hitchhiked home from school and ducked into the homes of strangers on my walk to school to avoid being beat up. I was physically assaulted in a classroom by a fellow student while the teacher stood by and watched. I was threatened at my home in front of my parents. This kind of abusive behavior went on until I was in 10th grade.
Back when I was growing up, we didn’t have the internet. Now bullies can come into our homes, day and night simply by accepting a friend request or having a dispute with someone on line who decides to make your life miserable on line. Even blocking people or ignoring them can be unsuccessful. Some people are forced to change their phone numbers, cease using social media, change schools or even cities… Some people are making another choice, and that choice involves suicide.
Suicide is the word we use to describe the decision a person makes to die by their own decision. When someone makes this decision, their thinking is not clear and they are feeling like there is no hope.
Suicide can be a really scary word and can be even scarier to talk about. I can tell you that if someone talks to you about suicide and you talk back to them, or if you are afraid someone is going to harm themselves, talking to them about it is the best thing you can do! Opening a dialogue is important. It won’t cause anyone to want to hurt themselves more.
But back to bullying for a moment… stopping bullying can be one of the most important things you can do for a person. Standing up for someone you see being bullied in a safe way and reporting the problem to school administration, parents or even the police when necessary. Don’t put yourself in a situation of immediate harm, but if you can pull a person away to safety do that. Show them that you care, even if they aren’t your friend, your actions could mean the world to them!
If you are being cyber-bullied (bullied online) please tell your parents or a trusted adult. Screen shot any threats to your safety or well-being and open a case with local police if the situation calls for it. You can always call local police dispatch to explain the situation if you aren’t sure.
Let’s apply this information to the 5 Keys of Self Esteem!
1- Personality: By supporting others we build strong character, which helps our personalities grow and strengthen! When we step out of a comfort zone to serve others, we become the best version of ourselves!
2- Good Friends –vs- Bad Friends: This Key is very important when talking about Bullying and Suicide prevention! Many of us don’t realize we are in a bad situation with someone before it’s too late, or we are afraid to say something for fear of being a target of bullying. Listen to your “gut.” To those inner feelings that help us decide right from wrong. Ask someone you respect for help if you can’t make a choice on your own. Remember that you are important and deserve to be treated with dignity and respect!
3- Make your Mark! By standing up for yourself and others, you will make your mark! People will see that you are a leader and they will know their limits and boundaries where you are concerned. Leadership skills will last your whole life long. Develop them anyway you can!
4- Comfort in Your Own Skin- Know your worth and that your worth is based on so much more than what you see in social media, on TV or hear about from others. Love your own uniqueness, share your traits with the world, don’t be afraid to be seen and heard, you are important and you are ENOUGH, just the way you are!
5- Healthy Living! Mental Health is just as important as physical health. The connection between our brains and bodies is undeniable! If you are feeling down (depressed) or hopeless, tell someone you can trust, these situations are treatable and the feelings are temporary. Even when they don’t feel temporary… they are and you have the ability to get past them with your own inner strength, help from others and from your Shimmer! Sparkle! Shine! Community!
Thanks for reading today! If I can answer any questions for you directly, please contact me at: firstname.lastname@example.org
If you are someone you know is feeling unsafe for any reason, please reach out to an adult you can trust. You can also use the National Suicide Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK.