Mental health issues and the innocent bystander

The statistics about young people and suicide are shocking. Frightening. Recently an 8th grader I’m close to and care about deeply was affected by this issue.

Over the course of a day, she received numerous texts from an acquaintance at school who was saying, in many different ways, that she no longer wanted to live. They have a couple of classes together, but my young friend didn’t even know the girl’s last name – just knew who she was.

With help from her mom, from an excellent presentation on kids and technology that coincidentally was going on at our church that evening, and with help from school counselors, my young friend got through the situation and handled it well, making sure her acquaintance was referred to the help she needed.

And I am left with conflicted feelings about this situation:

  • Sorrow that a young girl reached out to someone who doesn’t really even know her. Does she no true friends? No loving, supportive adults in her life?
  • Fierce, mama-lion anger that my young friend was thrust into an extremely difficult position, and that she had to be put through an emotional wringer most adults aren’t prepared for.

I recognize that, in part, this anger comes from my own baggage. I have recently been forced back into a relationship with an extremely unstable family member. Her behavioral health issues cause her to live in a state of histrionics that my low-key, introverted self absolutely despises. I resent this intrusion in my life (and yes, I feel selfish admitting that fact) so I’m extra-sensitive to what my young friend had to deal with.

It’s just one more example of how issues of poor mental health can seriously affect us innocent bystanders.

-Amy

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4 Responses

  1. Wow. This is a really powerful post.

  2. I think it was important that this young girl reached out. Perhaps there are qualities in your young friend that the other young girl felt would help her.
    Since both are young, time will heal. I hope that they both get through this alright.

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