listen, it’s time to talk.

in the last decade suicide among young people ages 10-17 have increased by more than 70%.
globally, more than 800,000 suicides occur each year.

-these numbers are taken from jamie tworkowski at to write love on her arms.

every day i talk to students.
every day i am thankful for them.
i see everything they are.
i see everything they will be.
i see everything they could be.

in my twenty four years, suicide has affected my life more than any other tragedy.
this includes friends and family who have attempted suicide.
this includes students.

i could outwardly wonder why this is happening.
i could pretend that i don’t know.
but we all know i’m not about to do that.

the truth is,
there are a million reasons why,
but it starts with us to answer how we are going to change this.

it’s kids reading stories about parents threatening a twelve year old’s life for being transgender.
it’s hearing that anyone in the current administration “made a deal with the devil.”
it is the “jokes” about the gays, and their “choices”
it’s the hatred of police officers and naming them all murderers.

these kids have dreams.

dreams of being open about the transition they need to make.
dreams of serving in public office.
dreams of a family.
dreams of being police officers, secret service, military.

every time we attack the “other side”
they take that to heart.
they become scared to show who they are.

we should be providing a safe space for our young people
to be who they are,
even if we don’t agree,
even if we think they will change their mind,
even if it is foreign to us.

it is time to embrace the students.
honestly, it’s not like us adults are doing much better.
the only people doing something right are the parkland students,
and glennon doyle.

these young people shouldn’t have to worry that the adults in their life will be cruel to them for being honest.
the more we strike down the other side the more we isolate them from us.
we can have different viewpoints and still be respectful.
at the very least
we can remember that every human is deserving of love.

because someone is listening to you.
someone is hearing you put down what they believe in.
someone is internalizing what you say.
someone is feeling devalued.
someone is hearing something is wrong with them every time you throw insults.
someone is wondering if something is wrong with them because they are different.

we should be telling our young people that they matter.
that being different is okay.
that they are important.
that their dreams are worth pursuing,
and their fears can be overcome.
they should know today is better because they are here.

mental health is so important.
while brain chemistry has so much to do with mental illness,
making medication important,
surrounding yourself with things and people that heal you,
people that allow you to grow,
hearts that love you unconditionally,
and voices that encourage you
are all essential to healing.

let’s start being those kinds of humans.

we all deserve the freedom to be exactly who we were created to be.
we all deserve to exist.
and we all deserve to have our voice heard.

we can listen.
we can encourage.
we can ask questions.
we can engage.

this is how you provide a safe space.

these lives don’t have to be lost.
these voices deserve to be heard.
these hearts don’t have to suffer in silence.
and they don’t have to suffer alone.

together we can start changing the statistics.
if the problem begins with us, it can absolutely end with us.

these young people need us
and we need them.

we have a lot of work to do.
and as much as i believe in them,
i believe in you too.

//

if you’re feeling isolated, stuck, surrounded by hate
know that there is a place for you here.
you belong here.
if secrets make you feel ashamed,
there is freedom waiting for you.
you are deserving of this life and all it has to offer.
tomorrow is waiting for you
with hope, healing, and a sunrise unlike any other.

there are enough resources for you.
and if you need help, please reach out.

you are not alone.

this is a place for you.
this is a place for the wilder.

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