This is a story which could have ended in tragedy three times. Instead, it’s a lesson about bravery and the power of speaking out. We don’t know his name. What we do know is from a young age this boy was bullied at school. Depressed and with no one to talk to, he first attempted suicide at age eight. It was the faces of his mother and sister that saved him. The loneliness and isolation continued and he again tried to hang himself at age eleven. His last attempt was when he was fourteen, shortly after his parents’ divorce. Feeling there was no one to talk to, he sat on the couch with a knife.  It was the pain he knew it would cause his mother and sister that stopped him. These attempts, his pain and suicidal thoughts, remained his secret.  

Then one day a counselor came to talk at his school.  She said there is no shame in being depressed. The words inspired him.  He told his mom about his pain and all three suicide attempts. They are now going to family counseling and are thinking about starting a suicide prevention program at their church.  Telling his mom required incredible bravery, as did revealing his story to the world.  Yet this boy, who suffered so much, put his own feelings aside to help others. The lesson here is there is no shame in being depressed or having thoughts of self-harm.   In fact, 16% of US teens between ninth and twelfth grades have similar feelings.  If you know someone or you, yourself have such thoughts, talk to an adult. There is always someone there who cares and wants to help you. Don’t keep your feelings a secret. Be brave. Your bravery may just save a life.