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And Now, In Local News: Periods and Semicolons, #FTSF

My little town made the news this week (local and even national), but not for some happy, special interest piece. We made the news, on the subject of suicide, youth suicide to be exact.

Students walk out of classes after wave of youth suicides in Woodstock, Ont.

This was a story I’d heard before, but that last time, not so long ago, the story came out of a remote, northern Ontario Native community.

Youth suicide pacts highlight “desperate” situation in Attawapiskat

How silly would I be if I assumed these things were only going on in isolated communities?

My town is a small one, around 40 thousand residents. I lived just outside it all my life, until I moved into it, ten years ago.

I had family and friends here. I went to high school here. This is home, but I am the isolated one, in many ways.

This isn’t just a problem in Canada, I would guess. Depression is a problem for people all over the world. Being young comes with so many new responsibilities, new feelings, and new and often scary experiences. I went through many of these myself, but I made it through.

What could be so bad that one feels so hopeless, as a youth, with their whole life ahead of them?

I ask more questions than I know the answers to. I still write this post.

I worry that some officials get their backs up a little. They want to think they are doing all they can to help their troubled young people, but they don’t live it with them. How could they possibly understand?

Well, they were young once too, right?

Of course, we’re lucky to live here in this country. So much of the world suffers things we can’t really imagine. However, saying a young person will live through it (whatever “IT” might be), that their is life after all the trials and tribulations of being a teenager, that it will get better sounds so great, but yet, it doesn’t. It doesn’t solve enough of the underlying issues.

I say I am isolated because I live a sheltered life. I struggled, of course, still do. I have my ups and my downs and I definitely had them when I was younger.

On the other hand, I was sheltered by all the love and security I received. Not all families, sadly, have this. It’s causes are many and varied. I don’t know what the answer is.

Bullying is a big part of it. Kids can be so cruel. I’ve seen it, but others have seen it worse. It could always be worse, right? Well, not much consolation when said to someone who feels like there is no place they can go to feel safe.

The school environment is so toxic at times, when the education system wants to educate, but misses out on key points of that education.

Stigmas remain. Disfunction is reality for many. I don’t know what to say, but more needs to be said.

“Oh, these kids just wanted an excuse to get out of school,” is a line some might say, an ignorant and narrow-minded observation, but what would a lonely youth do to get out of living?


It was a big, important, necessary morning at my town’s town square. These young people needed to be heard. I am glad they got that, at least.

But, in those darkest of dark moments, what do they do when they are told they need to wait for help, that they are being put on some waiting list for mental health services?

In that dark tunnel of isolation and depression, nobody understands and it won’t ever get better.

I fear that those moments will continue. I don’t like to think my city has this going on, somewhere in its homes, its schools, its neighbourhoods.

I don’t understand it all, budgeting, but we have a new hospital here. Where are the beds, the specialists, the mental health services when those in need really require help?

We all feel different, like we don’t fit in, like we’re worthless. I have seen signs of that, but it obviously goes much deeper. I care about the town where I grew up and where I currently reside. I, like so many, would probably prefer to live in denial, to believe all’s well and it’s not going on, but these students show, very clearly and with outspoken grace, that there is something more going on, underneath the surface of a small, south western Ontario town.

When it comes to the news, of course, there’s been a lot, a heavy news week. Stories surrounding the US election and its nominees is front and centre. There’s horrible injustice with the privilege and light court sentence of a university athlete. I want to write and speak up, but my frustration with humanity sometimes makes me hold back, keep it all inside, until I threaten to explode. I calm myself then, simply by saying, but humanity isn’t all bad, not by a long shot.

My town is no different than any other town. Whether it’s a town with a suicide and mental health story or a bunch of shootings in a big city like Toronto, it all matters. Big cities, small towns, and if you dig a little under the surface, you find the same problems, begging to be addressed.

This has been a finish the sentence Friday post. Here is Kristi’s take on one of the stories, from the news, of which I briefly alluded to above:

“I Just Wanted Some Action,” she said. A Response to the Lenient Verdict of Rapist Brock Allen Turner – What if it was a drunk boy behind the dumpster?

A period generally means the end to a sentence. They are necessary, at their exact, precise time, but hopefully not before.

A semicolon means there’s still more to come. I hope so, at least. More life. More hope. More potential. More dreams fulfilled. Much much more.


6 thoughts on “And Now, In Local News: Periods and Semicolons, #FTSF

  1. It’s hard when you’re young to think of your whole life ahead of you. From our perspective that’s surely the case but I know when I was young I just didn’t think much about the future. Everything was about now.

  2. Youth and teen suicide breaks my heart. My dad’s former girlfriend’s daughter had a son who killed himself at 17. It’s so very sad. I like your ending of hope with the semicolon though and I love this sentence “I ask more questions than I know the answers to. I still write this post.” We must always keep asking and asking. Sometimes, a person in pain (mental or physical) is helped by us asking. I think about my own teenage years – pretty privileged as well but some hard moments that everybody has. I think about those and the power of somebody talking about it. Asking the questions. Keep asking.

  3. Kerry, I feel a bit a loss what to say here. It is so sad that there has been a wave of suicides in your city. It is such a sad reflection on humanity that so many people feel driven to suicide. I think I’m right in say it’s the highest cause of death for young men in the UK, and almost everyone knows someone who killed themselves. So, as you say it’s certainly not just a Canadian issue.

    I agree with you that humanity is certainly not all bad. Often it’s about perception. So often people feel hopeless and unloved, but really they are loved. It’s just we humans are so poor expressing ourselves in ways that help others feel valued. And because poeple don’t feel loved, they build barriers, which sometimes are created by hiding inside oneself and sometimes by aggression towards others. Of course we need to feel more loving towards ourselves, because when we do, we are able to see others love us and to extend love towards them. But when someone is deep in depression, it’s hard to reach them. A friend of mine recently attempted suicide – she had a lot of difficult times years ago and then due to a few life changes unresolved feelings from earlier seemed to come to a head, and she was punishing herself, no matter how much I and others tried to give her love and support. She’s in a hospital now, and I hope getting the support that will help her heal.

  4. There really are no words. Suicide is a terribly sad thing, no matter what age the person is. But it feels particularly awful to me when it’s a very young person. I don’t know – maybe it’s just as bad no matter when. The part that breaks my heart is where are the people who should be loving and helping this person? What is wrong in that set of life circumstances that could be changed? There are no answers and it’s impossible for any of us to speculate because we just don’t know. There is always so much more to the story.

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