With summer ending and just around the corner it is the first week back to school and is ready to kick off in high gear for students and teachers alike. With young teenagers and young adults eagerly engaging in new activities as well as getting to know your students, peers, and teachers as well as learning new concepts to push the educational boundaries to list limit, the students are faced full of wild running emotions as well as expectations from themselves, teachers, students, and especially parents.
But with everything going on there has been a negative consequence and circumstances that has led to the untimely demise for so many of our youth. And for a lot of people the word I’m about to mention has been stigmatized so radically that is still uneasy for people to talk about, but it is a must that we had a discussion about suicide! They say most things that are worth learning are learned in the walls of your own home. But there are things such as suicide that are never mentioned or taught in those homes. It’s pushed to the side because of the discomfort it gives parents and guardians alike. For right now we are at an uneasy time and we need to destigmatize this suicide occurrence and bring it out into the light so that we can help solve the problem.
One of these things that we need to talk about is empathy! This needs to be taught for all aspects of life and for all people from all backgrounds especially in our school systems. As a person that was raised in a low income single-parent home until I was a teenager when my own dad came back into the picture, many people did not give me a chance to survive this life. But I did. As a result of this I was tremendously bullied growing up in central Utah. However I have been blessed throughout my life to deal with circumstances and criticisms that could have easily turned south and let me down the road to take my own life. I was strong enough to walk away and to not listen to those of who even wanted to see my demise. But that was just me. Growing up we did not have big huge social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snap Chat, or YouTube which many of these platforms our youth from the ages of 10 years old all the way through 25 use for these gateways on a daily basis. Some of our youth use it as a gateway to escape the real world and reality, while others use it to make social standing games even if it means trampling on those who they seem that they are better in life than. In reality these kids are no better than any other kid on the planet, well at least not here in Utah. They are in high school and middle school where their minds are not fully developed, but social pressure has been placed on their shoulders to either be something now or fall by the wayside. I’ve heard from many of my constituents that there is a large religious base out there that has been part of the bullying debate because if you’re not one of us you’re not anything.
For years we have also heard that if you do not come from a nice home or wear the nice clothes that you are nothing and you’re going to be nothing in this world. Well I can positively attest that this is absolutely not the notion and is not true. We now live in instant gratification world, but we can put the brakes on a little bit especially with their youth. Parents and guardians I encourage to have deep meaningful conversation with your kids and make them feel like they can accomplish wonders, and that deep down they do matter. Recently in the state of Utah we have had a pandemic of self-inflicted suicides in our youth and we have seen these untimely deaths rip individuals, friends, communities, and especially families apart. It leaves all these human beings wondering what could I have done? How could I have stopped this? What can we have done differently? In some cases, nothing can be done which is utterly sad and disheartening. But most cases if you break it down to the absolute foundation level, these kids, young adults, and individuals in adulthood just want to be acknowledged, talked to and with, and reinforced language of they matter.
Now I know I’m saying this as a political candidate, but I am mainly saying this out of a concerned citizen and a suicide prevention activist, but more importantly I’m doing this to help solve a problem because I have godsons and goddaughter’s who absolutely matter to me and I love them. I don’t want to see no more families and communities ripped apart nor do I want to see families walking around saying if I had only……. if I could have……… I or we should have!
So for everybody involved which is everybody let’s please have these open minds and the willingness to take in the account for these young kids physical, mental, spiritual, emotional, and social well-being’s. And to absolutely have lines of communication open between all parties youth, young, and older! We do not know what another person is truly going through, but we can if we can just open our hearts to reach out and do something simple and say hi and talk to them. At the end of every day we are the ones who make the decisions they can alter somebody’s life for good or for bad. So let’s be good to people and let us reinforce this narrative from this day forward for all parties and every individual not just the district two or in the state of Utah but everywhere in the world that, YOU- DO- MATTER!
Please, everyone who reads this or eventually will read this please feel free to contact either a suicide prevention hotline, your local schools, the school social work counselors, and especially teachers and parents alike. Let’s help defeat this suicide pandemic and give every individual hope for tomorrow. Because everybody deserves to be listened to and respected regardless of name, race, sex, sexual preference, religious beliefs, income or parental level incomes, age, or current social standing. Mental and Emotional health especially in our kids is the key to not only success but to life and the lives of those around us, so let’s all make this school year a loss free year and lets make it great to celebrate life for years to come!
U.S. Congressional Candidate UTCD2