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Listen to teenagers


Sir -- I am a 17-year-old girl and I am speechless after hearing of a local young person committing suicide. This is about the fourth case of suicide I have heard of in the last few months.

The most shocking of all is that these people were all teenagers living in the town near me. If there can be so many suicides among young people in such a small area in such a short length of time, I cannot imagine how many suicides there have been around the country every day.

I'm so sick of suicide being a topic that people feel they cannot mention. You would not believe the amount of people I heard saying they wished they could have done something, but it's not just them who should have been wishing, it should have been the Government and society in general.

I know there are help centres set up and helplines as well, but these teenagers feel like they are not worth the help. They feel like no one can help them or will ever care for them as much as they hope. The majority understand that the people at the end of the phone of these help lines are just doing their job, and they understand that these people cannot be there for them 24/7. They essentially feel like they are not worth that person's time. They don't want to bring down their friends' moods either with all the things that are bothering them, because no one wants to be a burden, so they just decide that the only way out is death.

When you think about it, a teenager has only been on this earth for less than two decades, and it's horrifying to think that in that space of time some teenagers feel so out of place here, or are made to feel so uncomfortable that they cannot continue anymore. That what has forced me to write this letter.

After hearing of that person's suicide, a lot of teenagers expressed their feeling on Facebook through status updates. I collected a few, exactly as they were typed, just to show you:

"Everybody; if you're ever feeling in even the slightest bit of a sh*tty mood you're not on your own. My number's in my info so if you ever need someone to talk to, whatever time, whatever the problem I'm here. ***** mate you speak the truth, we need to look out for each other, not be at each others throats."

"This has actually got me tearing up.. so badly. it truly is so hurtful, and I don't believe people who commit suicide are attention seeking or selfish. I believe they are in pain, and when they do it.. they just think of being relieved from it. they don't have family or friends in their mind, they just want to feel real again, happy. it's the same with self harming. it's easier to handle physical pain rather than emotional."

"I pity the kids growing up right now, if this is what it's like now what hope do they have? It aint right."

Essentially there is nothing we can do except try and make this world a happier place for people to live in, which I know is quite an impossible thing to do, but I believe it's the smallest things that can make the biggest difference. Us teenagers see the world in a different way to those older than us; we still have the amazing outlook on the world that children do, but we more importantly have the maturity and understanding to see the downfalls in modern society. We feel as if we cannot be heard, and we have all learned to express ourselves in different ways; through the way we dress, the way we act, through art, through music, and some even through self-harm. This is all fine, until society comes along and tells us to confine ourselves to "the norm". What they don't seem to comprehend is that, for the new generation, we are in the process of creating a new "norm" -- and I think that should be respected. Those teenagers who are told that their way of expression is wrong will obviously feel like they've lost their sense of meaning.

I understand that a lot of teenagers are seen as trouble-makers, but that is just simply stereotyping. There are "trouble-makers" no matter what age group you look at.

Basically, teenagers are the future, and I believe that we should be treated with more respect and have a bigger say in the wider scale of things.

It is about time for a change and the only people who can lead this change are teenagers, but we need the help of people who are willing to stand up for us. So I am urging you to listen to teenagers, because their input in this world is more important than you may think. One of the people who have taken their own lives could have grown up to become the scientist who could have found the cure for cancer, or the president, or anyone who could have changed the world for a greater good. That's the opportunity the person reading this has: you have the power to change things, to spread a message, to help disillusioned teenagers all over the country of Ireland. You can help save their lives.

Christine Meehan,

Causeway, Co Kerry

Sunday Independent