Meg, an eighth grader, has struggled with suicide. After seeking help, they bravely share their experience to the Fairfax County School Board on May 25, 2023, in order to help parents and other adults know how to support their own children and students in Fairfax County. This speech, research, and consultations with mental health experts are part of their Silver Award project for Girl Scouts.
Please note that this speech contains sensitive content.
“Don’t judge a situation you’ve never been in,” Mitchell Perry once said. Hi. My name is Megan, and I am a teen advocate for suicide prevention and mental health awareness.
Do you know the famous Judy Garland, aka Dorothy? She was also suicidal despite the smile on her face in the movie, The Wizard of Oz, and in her everyday life. This shows that you can still be suicidal despite appearing “fine.”
Your friend can be suicidal and show up to gatherings and their job. Your neighbor can be suicidal and still show up to annual ice cream socials and laugh along with you and the rest of their friends. Your very own child can be suicidal and tell you they’re “fine”.
You might ask, “Megan, how do you know so much about this topic at such a young age?” The answer to that question: I felt this way, too, when I was 11 and 12 years old. Suicidal thoughts is like fighting with your very own mind every day and just begging for it to be over.
I see my friends hurting every day, and it breaks my heart knowing that they’re hurting. But are too afraid to say something in fear that their parent(s) won’t believe them, or simply saying they’re overreacting, and it’s all in their head. And yes, I’m sure you might say “not my child”; I am here to tell you, yes, your child.
Did you know that suicide is the second leading cause of death among people ages 15-24? Did you know that almost 17% of teens, grades 8-12 throughout Fairfax County, have reported that they had thought of suicide in 2021, and about 6% of them going through with it? So yes, it could very much be your child.
What I’m hoping is that parents not in this room, but throughout Fairfax County, understand and believe your children when they say they are struggling with suicidal thoughts; do not say they’re overreacting or are too sensitive.
If you’d like more information, please look at the Instagram page, @yourmentalhealthisapriority, as they have great information on how to care for your loved ones with mental illnesses.