National Suicide Prevention Week is September 8th-14th We should take a moment and remember the people we have lost.  This past year alone 4,600 young people between the ages of 10 and 24 completed suicide in the U.S.  Of those 85% were male.  Sadly, another young man was added to that list on Saturday.  His name was Bart Palosz.  He was 18 years old.  He shot himself one day after starting his second year of high school.  It is not a coincidence that rates of suicide are highest during the first two years of high school.  According to his sister, the family moved to Greenwich, Ct. from Poland seven years ago.  That’s when the bullying started.  Kids had pushed Bart down stairs and smashed his cell phone.  Bart didn’t fight back. In fact 58% of those who are bullied never tell an adult. Instead he tried to kill himself.  His failed suicide attempts, which included drinking lighter fluid until he passed out, were posted on his Google page.  Yet even his sister who he was close to was shocked by his death. She said he seemed fine when she spoke with him the day before.  Even she did not know about her own brother’s posts.  Sadly, social media can be read by people on the other side of the world, but not by someone in the next room.  At Bart’s funeral, a family friend talked about taking responsibility for Bart’s death.  He said Bart’s “death can only have meaning if the bullying is confronted.  Just saying kids can be cruel is not action.  It is an excuse for not taking responsibility and not teaching our children well”.  I agree.  In memory of Bart, the other 4,600 kids who died last year as well as every other teen who we’ve lost to suicide let’s make a pledge to help someone in need. Whether it’s just being a friend or standing up to bullying.  20% of high school kids are bullied and teen suicide is on the increase as a result. While no kid wants to be a tattletale, it is critical to give a voice to someone who can’t stand up for themselves. If you witness bullying do two things.  First, tell an adult immediately.  Second, tell the victim they are not alone. You’ll fight bullying and maybe save a life. Make the pledge and pass it on.

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