Marine and Army Vet Takes On Bullying And Suicide Awareness

Interview by Dana Jacoviello

James Salsman, a Marine and Army Vet, actor, cancer survivor, and one of our Bullies Keep Out advocates sat down to chat about his extensive experience with bullying and suicide awareness. Check out what he had to say below:

Dana Jacoviello: To begin, have you ever personally experienced any form of bullying or any form of hate in your life?

James Salsman: Yes, I was bullied as a kid growing up. I was bullied from elementary school all the way up to in high school. Allot of it was for the fact I had red hair, and I was different.

DJ: Besides the fact it is an obvious cause that anybody would stand by, as nobody wants to see any form of bullying or hate take place, do you have any personal motivation that makes this a passionate cause for you?

JS: Yes, since I had to endure bullying from school and abuse at home growing up, like a ping-pong affect, I am even more so against bullying. That kind of thing can push kids to consider suicide, ending their life over something or someone verbally and physically bullying them. It can cause long-term emotional and traumatic effects scarring the person for years to come. It WILL or would take extensive counseling for that individual to overcome what they experienced.

DJ: I know you mentioned that you did suicide awareness PSA in the past, which we advocate for as well, can you tell me you why chose that particular topic and what it means to you personally?

JS: Well, there are so many people not in the military that are committing or considering suicide. So many people find life and events in their life too much to bear so they think suicide would be the answer to it all ending. When in fact they would be making life harder on those they love and are close too. Suicide is NEVER the answer but receiving help from professionals and from those that have been there, WILL help! We need to get the message out there. People need to be educated on and about this.

DJ: Often bullying is a big problem surrounding mental illness. What are your thoughts on mental health/illness and the stigma that surrounds it, and do you feel that are more susceptible to bullying than others?

JS: Well bullying can be thwarted from and individual who was abused by their parent(s) which they in turn inflict on others to make them feel better. When they inflict this aggression on others it causes mental scarring to the person of whom they are bullying. People that have been bullied I feel can be more susceptible, yes. Because of the fact, they have been bullied and if they get bullied again by someone bigger than them for example, could bring a past experience (flashback) back on them which of course wouldn’t make matters any better but worse.

DJ: Many feel not much is being done or taken seriously when it comes to cyber bullying. Shooting live videos have become over sensationalized. What are some online strategies you feel could be implemented by social media sites to combat cyber bullying, rather than simply blocking when they can easily make new profiles or send others to bully?

JS: I would say we create a group backed by police in every city and once there is a case of cyber bullying, they trace and track down the perpetrator and have that person or persons brought to justice. There is NO EXCUSE for bullying, none. People can’t help how they were born, how they look, or how they feel, etc. If someone wants to make a change to their body for example, that’s their choice, not yours or anyone else’s. We are not GOD who has the right to judge. Why not have programs to go out and teach awareness to others starting off in schools. People have the right to their opinions so they shouldn’t be ridiculed for it. That’s creates fear as well and promotes a type of bullying. In fact we should welcome others opinions so we can spark a conversation with those people, educate them because they are obviously ignorant and explain everything in-depth by examples and open their eyes.

DJ: What is your stance on men and women and the very controversial topic of equality?

JS: I believe EVERYONE is equal and WE ALL should come together and put the word out. Men should understand that women are needed to be able to climb the corporate ladder to reach high positions as well as men. I should be the same for men and women. Not one sides. That is never the answer. God created Adam and Eve so both are equal. They were partners and companions, same should go for the corporate world and in government. There should not be any leniency or shortcuts for any to take. Should be the same for both men and women as we are ALL the same.

DJ: Being that you are a Marine and an Army Vet, did you ever feel that a man or a woman should not be able to serve because of their sexual orientation?

JS: No, that isn’t my job nor right to judge. We should do what we signed up for, that is to follow orders of those appointed over you. NEVER did it say to judge others for their sexual orientation nor were we taught to do that. There is NO place for that. Again, awareness needs to be taught there for that as well.

DJ: We are excited to see your PSA, and what you come up with. Do you have any ideas you can share with us about the PSA you will be creating for Bullies Keep Out?

JS: I will be basing my video about my life being bullied, about raising awareness and also about putting the message out there. Most people are ignorant and need to be educated on these matters. By that we lower the numbers of those that bully and the rest we can work together with authorities to bring those that push their verbal, physical and cyber bullying to justice.

DJ: What would be any words of wisdom or advice you would like to share with people of any age out there that are struggling with bullying and hate?

JS: I would encourage those in school to form groups with acceptance and backing from your school, for businesses with backing from your employee to spread the word by postings on board walls, flyers, emails, etc. Set up rallies to spread awareness.

If you are being bullied or ever have, seek the help from a counselor. It will be confidential and they are there to help you. They will work with you to resolve your situation and come up with the best course of action to stop the bully (perpetrator) from ever bullying anyone again by what is deemed necessary. Always keep a positive mind frame and hang around other positive people, this ALWAYS helps and will in turn help you cope and beat the bullying being done to you.

DJ: Do you have anything you would like to add? 

JS: Yes, NEVER GIVE UP, always be positive in life, spread positive energy, and be kind to others as they will return the favor. When you do positive deeds, you get back in return. Always do kind things for people and as one day you could be in a situation where you may need some positive words of encouragement or help of some sort that positively helps whatever it is you may be working on or need help with.



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