I know it’s not Wednesday, but, I felt like talking today. I actually was going to write yesterday, yet, didn’t have the chance to get to it. Maybe it’s because I am supposed to write this TODAY.
Yesterday, on my way to a Suicide prevention initiative meeting with Hennepin County Department of Public health, I drove behind a car that had 321 as their license plate number. I felt that was a sign from Aria that I am exactly where I need to be.
As I fell asleep, I saw a former classmate of mine post that another kid in either a district she works in or lives in died by suicide.
When I woke up this morning, my feed was flooded by a FOX9 article about another child who died by suicide earlier this month. Her death was number 7 in the past school year in the Blaine, Anoka-Hennepin district alone. The child that died yesterday, is from the same district.
So now what? What do they do?
After losing Aria, I feared the same response amongst her classmates. Although, the school and district did very little, the parents were on top of their kids. Those kids and parents knew Aria since kindergarten. I heard so many kids say how Aria was someone they could always go to. Someone who would always listen and give support when needed. All the things I knew, but, it’s super validating to hear it from others. Parents told me verbatim, “How could this happen to Aria, she was so special, kind, talented, happy, she had great things ahead of her. Gosh, if it could happen to her, I better check in on my own kid.” The parents of Lake Harriet students did an incredible job supporting their kids. While extending their support to me.
I don’t know how many times I have to say this, but, this is a serious problem. A public health issue, a social issue, not just a mental health issue. We will continue to see the statistics grow until we change the system. The more I think about it, I don’t think it’s as easy as just putting more mental health professionals in the schools. There needs to be mandated curriculums(I’m working on it).
Parents, whether you believe it or not, you’re children are at risk. Suicide has been promoted through what kids see on tv, movies, read, and the music they listen to. In a technology driven world, it’s at their finger tips at any moment. Any moment of emotional dysregulation could lead to a fatal decision by your child.
I find it interesting that FOX9 puts the pretty white young lady on the front page to represent the kids who died in that district. To NOW, talk about the issue. The other 6 weren’t enough? Statistically, suicide in children is growing faster in the African American community. For the past year, I have emailed all of MN public outlets. I’ve done tons of outreach, I’ve spoken at events, I’m a mental health professional and not one media outlet returned my call.
It pisses me off, because maybe if they would have listened to me, 8 lives in the Anoka-Hennepin school district would be spared.
My thoughts and prayers go out to all the family and friends of the children who passed too soon. There are no words that can comfort you at this time. But, I promise there are people that are fighting for change! God bless you all and give you peace during this unimaginable time.
I was going through Aria’s DM’s last night. Found out that 2 of her friends tried to complete the month before her passing. Then, I found this. A conversation she had with a young lady 4 months before Aria took her own life.
The kids and parents were right! Aria was such a light to people in their time of need. I am so proud. I couldn’t help but laugh at her explanation on why each one of us is special. It’s such a 13 year old in health class, response.
Aria Joy even though you died by suicide. YOU are a Suicide Prevention advocate. I will be YOUR VOICE till the day we meet again.