It Gets Better

I don’t know how many of you follow the news, but I do and one story meant so much that I needed to say something about it.  Months ago, Dan Savage and his partner, Terry Miller, started a youtube revolution. They knew that they couldn’t speak directly to LGBT teens, but that teens will go to youtube or Facebook or Twitter so they began a project called It Gets Better. The couple wanted to share that once you graduate high school, life can and does get better. The concept is to record a video that encourages LGBT youth by telling them “it gets better,” then upload that video to youtube. Thousands of videos have been uploaded to date.

The news story I saw shared the story of a gay teen who had uploaded a video to the site to encourage his peers to persevere and that “it gets better.” Unfortunately, for this boy it did not get better and he ended his life.  It is heart wrenching to think that despite his outer courage, he was clearly experiencing a great deal of pain.  I think the online campaign is a positive one.  In fact I encourage you all to view the site, take the pledge, and watch some videos. But I also encourage you to do more. Talk to people, listen, and encourage someone to get help if they are struggling. We know that if we can instill some hope, we might be able to prevent a suicide. Sometimes we just need to listen to others and sometimes we need to do more. It takes a trained person to counsel someone, but it does not take a trained person to just listen and to care.  So please, look at this site and think of the people that need us.

In addition, I would encourage you to visit this site as well The Trevor Project is an organization that was developed specifically to prevent suicide in LGBT youth.


Learning lessons in unexpected places

I was at the gym yesterday, as I am on many days, doing cardio. Loving life and feeling generally pretty good. I happened to look up to the televisions and saw a show on ESPN called “Unbreakable.” It was about young athletes all of the world overcoming hardships. There was a story about young children in India playing cricket on a field that has been contaminated by a pesticide ultimately causing paralysis in the children. There was also a story about an amputee football (soccer here in the US) league for former child soldiers from Liberia. Then there was a story about a high school athlete here in the US who attempted suicide and survived. He spoke in detail about his depression and his overwhelming pressure to accomplish unachievable goals.  He was 16 when he locked his door and jumped out of his 9th story building to the ground below. He says he doesn’t remember the fall or hitting the ground, but he does remember waking up in the hospital with his family surrounding him. Suicide is a topic that faces a great stigma. Only “crazy” people do that. Well no. That’s just not true. A young person (between 15 and 24) attempts suicide every two hours. Quite staggering if you think about it. people who are considering suicide are in great pain, psychache if you will, and may believe that suicide is the only option to stop the pain. They may not want to die, but they don’t want to live with the pain they are feeling. I encourage you to watch this clip on Jordan Burnham. He now speaks to high schools and colleges to educate our youth on depression and suicide. So watch, listen, and learn and every now and again pay attention to things that are playing in the background of your life. You never know where your next lesson will come from.

ESPN E:60 The Jordan Burnham Story

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