Who Is To Blame?

21 10 2012

Amanda Todd died by suicide on October 10, 2012.

Working in health care, one of the first things I learned in suicide training is that it is inappropriate and incorrect to say one ‘committed’ suicide.  Like many people, I questioned the truth of this statement at first, until I truly began to understand what exactly it meant and how it applied to the population I am speaking about now. To ‘commit’ something is to assume one has a choice in the matter and is purposefully engaging in an act, there is some accountability involved.  People commit murder, they commit crimes, they commit adultery, they don’t commit suicide. A person who dies by suicide usually does so because in their view there is no option, there is no hope, there is no future, there is no life left to live. It’s a sad and dark state of mind to be in and nobody chooses to feel this way, nobody chooses for their mental health to be compromised to such an extent.

I know some people may disagree with my comments above; some feel that everyone has a choice and that Amanda is no different, that she had a choice. While I completely disagree, I can let it go and agree to disagree with those who may have an alternate belief. (I just think those people don’t get it and may do well with a little mental health education, that’s all 😉 ).

So ‘Who is to blame?’ Some say her bullies are responsible; maybe her parents; or the parents of the bullies?  Her teachers…her classmates? My vote – Ignorance.  Watching a young girl tell her awful story on you tube, and then continue to comment and bully her after her death?  That is ignorance at its best. To have the gall to make a video of yourself pretending to drink bleach and then reference Amanda is disgusting to me. People have said that she made bad choices and brought it upon herself. So does that mean it’s unacceptable for someone to make a human error? Does that mean that it’s up to the rest of the world to ‘teach her a lesson?’ What exactly gives them the right? That is what I’d like to know. Get over yourselves boys and girls, I’m sure if walls could talk, your less than perfect track record would be aired for the world to see as well.

I wish people understood what the impact of bullying really has on another human being; I wish people cared enough about how their own actions can directly affect another person for the rest of their lives. I wish parents paid more attention to what their kids were doing and were taking the time to educate them, to educate themselves.  I wish… I wish.

The bottom line is that we as a society need to smarten up and fast. I think it’s great that the government wants to take action now; but it’s going to take a lot more than campaigns and internet fire walls to stop bullying. It’s about building solid relationships with our children, so they feel secure enough in themselves to not feel the need to bully other children. It’s about parents being curious about their kids and trying to understand their world a bit better.  We need to teach ourselves and our children compassion and at the same time, how to cope with sadness and tragedy.  This issue isn’t just going to go away… we need to step up and make this world better.

If you remember anything from this post, remember the 3 C’s I just mentioned… teach them Compassion; equip them with a Coping toolbox and be Curious…  always be curious.