Written by Founder and CEO Dana Jacoviello
Well all have our stories and personal opinions on the subject of bullying and suicide, but we can all agree that we need to take action and try to do what we can to prevent and intervene. We need to step up and not just speak words. Bullying is not something to take be taken lightly as I have said so many times in the past. I know some take it as kids being kids or adults just being immature; however, the profound outcome it has on a life is nothing to put to the side. It does a great deal of damage no matter how long it lasts or how strong a person is. It can stay with you for a lifetime. It is somewhat like a cut that might heal but the scar stays. Sadly some take their lives. Suicide is a topic that needs to be discussed more often. It can be a touchy subject; however, I think that is why there might sometimes be a fear of discussing it and speaking out. The more we talk about it, the better chance we have of savings lives in a positive way.
It is heart breaking to hear stories of anybody taking their lives due to this epidemic, and it is an epidemic. I feel it is more noticeable than it has ever been before. Bullying was always prevalent, but it has come to light so much more over the years. We also have technology that helps a bully hide a bit easier. Cyber bullying is at a peak in today’s society. You can go on any social media site and find it in abundance, which is why we must keep fighting and getting involved. If that means telling your story, remain anonymous if you need, create artwork, or do a video, join forums and discuss topics and be there for each other (BKO has several forums), or join a campaign, it is something. Be creative! That story or video or gesture can save a life. That fear of not wanting to lend our voices to the cause is only enhancing staying silent. Even if you have not been bullied, there are things we can do. BKO aka Bullies Keep Out regularly embraces interaction and participation from both supporters and those who took the pledge and those who did not. It is about numbers. The greater we are in numbers, the more we will reach.
I ache when I hear of stories of a life being lost. Our lives are so precious, and bullying can be a silent killer in that way. By encouraging those to seek help and raise their voices, we are promoting prevention and intervention. WE MUST do this regularly. These causes are more important than ever right now. Bullying occurs for a variety of reasons from being different to simply not being one of the “in crowd”. There is no rhyme or reason behind it at times. The truth is, we are not that different when you take a closer look. We might look different, have different jobs, participate in different hobbies, dress differently, lead different lives, etc., but as humans we all look for the same thing. We all have the same emotions and trials in our lives. Nobody is immune to adversity.
If you have a bit of extra strength to give, give it. If you have a bit more love to show, show it. The more we spread love and hope, the stronger we all become. In an instant someone can make a fatal choice, but at the same time in that instant they can make a positive choice through all of us putting forth the effort. It can be big or just something small that changes the course or outcome of a situation getting out of control. We have to think about the person involved and those around them as well. They are leaving behind so many who love and care about them; therefore, it is more than an isolated incident at that point. We have to keep it constant and communicate on a daily basis and check up on each other. We can no longer be too busy to take a few minutes out of each day to make a difference in a life.
Don’t ignore even the smallest of signs that something is wrong with someone you know or even a stranger. Keep trying until they break down. Sometimes we need to vent and just fall apart for a bit to get it all out. The more we keep down inside, the more intense it becomes to the point of not being able to handle it and it turning into a complete loss of hope. Playing the blame game or being a bully back doesn’t solve the problem. Standing up for yourself and defending yourself is. We might get angry and want to lash out but it makes us no better, and it does not solve the problem. Those who bully and commit wrongful acts should have to answer for what they did in memory of those lost so it is not in vain.
If you have to stand by someone every day for a week, a month, or a year…DO IT! Life is too beautiful to not pay it forward and help another in need. If you have to tell someone because that person is staying quiet, do it. You are talking about lives so we must be attentive at all times as anybody is susceptible. It is not about a weak person or bullying itself, it comes down to our minds, our hearts, and our souls breaking. It is the strength of the negative thinking and emotions that take over. It is not an easy feat to come out of so easily, but it is easy to fall into it. Granted some are more vulnerable to it for various reasons; however, there are steps to take.
Look for any signs, which can be many or a single one, but do not stand around and do nothing. Never take talking about suicide or thoughts of it and blow it off as a person just venting. Believe it can be prevented and know what you need to do. To be blunt, there will be times we are too late or we blame ourselves thinking what else we could have done. Don’t blame yourself or fall into that darkness. When you have done all you can, you can only honor them and keep going for them. Push forward in their memory and never stop trying or give up. One saved life can lead to hundreds. The more risk factors and signs, the greater chance, so know them, study them, and utilize any tool at your disposal.
I personally have dealt with this situation in my life with a friend making a comment that was quite serious at the time it was happening, so I decided to do something. Was it just in passing or because they were depressed at the moment? Maybe. Was I going to live with myself if it was not? NO! We can never take that chance. Our loved ones and friends might be upset with us or not talk to us for a bit, so be it. We do what we have to do that is in the best interest of the person.
Do not believe that a person determined is beyond help. That is NOT TRUE! Often times when suicide takes place it is because people want the pain to go away and not necessarily die. It hurts to the point of not being able to think clearly or stay in touch with reality. We define ourselves by so much ridiculous expectations and the pressure can be a breaking point. In my opinion, there is no exact clear cut guide because we can’t fix a person or do it for them. We can’t provide advice that will just make it all go away. It is a process. Just be yourself and be honest. Talk from your heart not from technical terms or a script. Use prevention tips as there are so many available. It is about understanding, accepting, and compassion. Just listen and talk without over thinking.
We are so many that can make a difference where we can…so lets do it. We can’t stand by and do nothing. Please join BKO and get involved. On our contact page there is a list of ways we can all contribute. We also offer services if needed. Don’t be too busy or say I will get to it. We all know that means forgetting about it down the road. Find time in your schedule to join a cause and be an advocate. If not BKO than whatever you choose, but something is better than nothing.
Big love…be kind…be gentle