The story of Amanda Todd has been nonstop on radio stations, newspapers and internet sites. For those of you who have somehow managed to not hear about this young girl, she was a 15 year old who committed suicide on Wednesday, Oct 10, 2012. It wasn’t until I watched her Youtube video that I fully grasped the depth of the situation. It seems that time and time again, we’re hearing the exact same story about kids and particularly teenagers being isolated and bullied among peers to a point where they see no escape. The difference about the Amanda Todd story is that she told it herself.
What was meant to be an inspirational video of her reaching out to other bullied youth has now become a documented timeline of what lead this poor girl to ending her life. She was haunted by her past, even though she desperately kept trying to run from it. She longed for a friend, for one person to break her loneliness. That did not happen and when it seemingly did happen, it was to take advantage of her. People were hurting her so much in her life that she began hurting herself. All the warning signs were clear that this girl did not like herself, felt alone in this world and saw no light at the end of the tunnel. People turned their backs on her until she turned her back on herself.
Last February, I wrote an article on anti-bullying movements. This is something I feel passionate about. I won’t deny getting a laugh at someone else’s expense from time to time, but there is a clear line that should never be overstepped. Watching this video is so powerful and sends such an important message that I felt it needed to be shared. You won’t feel good after watching this, but my hope is that it helps people acknowledge how much their actions can affect someone else’s life. There doesn’t need to be another Amanda Todd out there.
On the day that this girl took her own life, it was World Mental Health Day. Maybe this was coincidence or maybe this was her way of sending a message? We will never know. For information about depression, self-injury and mental health, visit the Canadian Mental Health Association website. Learn to recognize the signs and encourage those dealing with mental health issues to get professional help; however, Amanda Todd reminds us that professional help is not the only thing needed when someone is stuck in a dark place. Sometimes offering your kindness and support can be the difference between life and death. Always choose life and always encourage others to choose life. Anything else is unacceptable.