"Sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me." Total lie. Just asked any bullied teen. Hateful, cruel words are what drive many into a depression or, worse, suicide. That is what happened to 13-year-old Noah Brocklebank. So mercilessly teased, the seventh-grader lost his will to live. Sadly, it has become a common story. Though, what is so remarkable about this particular instance is what ultimately saved Noah's life. It could be the answer many parents of a depressed child are desperately looking for.
Taunted with names like "fat," "ugly," "annoying," and "loser," Noah didn't feel like he could go on. His mother blames the bullying and an underlying case of depression for the suicide attempt on January 26. That night, her son posted a photo of his arm cut up along with this frightening message on the Internet:
Day of scheduled suicide, February 8th, 2013, my birthday.
I can't imagine being his mother in that moment. It was just days before Noah's 13th birthday and the panic and fear must have been completely overwhelming. Noah was placed in a hospital for observation for eight days. During that time, his mom came up with her own plan of action to save her son. She sent out a message to some friends pleading with them to offer words of advice and hope to her little boy. She got back more than she ever hoped for. The request went viral, so not only did friends send letters, but so did people all over the world with the message that things get better, not to give up, and that he is not alone.
It was exactly what this poor child needed. Reading them has given him renewed hope and a belief that life can be good. You know, it really does take a village. This is the perfect example of that. I can’t imagine the terror this mom felt knowing that her son wanted to die and nothing she said would change that. But this proves we really shouldn't parent in a bubble -- especially when our child is going through a hard time. It reminds me of the way my parents and grandparents grew up. Everyone looked out for the kids near them and got involved if they felt it was needed. In this instance -- it was a global community that reached out. Amazing. I don’t think I will ever forget this family and how a simple request fundamentally changed this child’s future and game him the will to live.
To send a letter to Noah, visit lettersfornoah.com.
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Do you reach out to others for help raising your kids?