Teen’s suicide shows more need for support

We must all do all that we can to prevent any more young lives being needlessly cut short.

If only half of the outpouring of love and support directed towards Amanda Todd had come a week earlier, there’s a good chance the B.C. teen would still be alive today.

The 15-year-old Port Coquitlam girl committed suicide last Wednesday, a month after posting a haunting video to YouTube detailing her years of abuse from harassment and bullying both at school and online.

Todd posted the nine-minute video online at the beginning of September, showing her holding up a series of hand-written cards describing the anxiety and depression she was suffering. The video ends with her note: “I have nobody. I need someone.”

The story of her tragic suicide has captured the attention of media around the world, and more than a dozen online memorials have been set up on Facebook, with one already boasting more than 500,000 “likes.”

Police have about two dozen investigators sifting through leads to find any evidence that could result in charges against individuals, while hundreds of tips are pouring into an email account set up by RCMP. While we hope police are successful in identifying those responsible for tormenting Todd, that will do nothing to prevent a repeat of this heartbreaking story.

Coroner Barb McLintock said in order for her to make recommendations to prevent similar tragedies, issues ranging from school and mental health support, to cyber and social media bullying must be explored.

We must all do all that we can to prevent any more young lives being needlessly cut short. Parents, please talk to  your kids. Let them know they are loved and they always have somewhere to turn; and just as importantly, help them to understand pain that can be caused through words, and what we all stand to gain from their offering comfort and support to a classmate in need.