Suicide resources and hotlines listed below
On August 23, Jamel Myles opened the eyes of many. What would you do, if you saw someone getting severely bullied? Would you bully someone because of their race, gender, or religion? How about their sexuality? What would you do if someone took their life, because of such abuse? Would you change your ways?
What would we do?
What have we done?
Alex Zoellner ‘19
Jamel Myles was a fourth grader at Joe Shoemaker Elementary School in Denver. Going into the summer before his fourth grade year, Jamel came out, as gay, to his family. He also started wearing fake fingernails and dressing more femininely. Ultimately, with an impressive amount of pride, he began his fourth grade year by coming out to his classmates, on his own volition. He got bullied for it. So much so in fact, that he took his own life, only four days into his fourth grade year.
The actions of Jamel’s close minded peers are truly heinous. The pain and devastation is sincerely horrendous. He was an incredible light and inspiration for many that will be sincerely missed. Especially for Jamel’s mother, Leia Pierce. Jamel was “the kindest, most gentlest soul I’ve ever met” said Pierce in an interview with NBC News. To make matters worse Jamel’s family, especially Pierce, has faced tremendous hate and harassment in light of this tragic death. The same animosity and aggravation that tormented Jamel has rolled over onto his family. Why? Because of certain individual’s abnormal and vile bigotry for something as innate as sexuality.
Despite everything, Pierce continues in the battle to spread awareness about the damages caused by bullying and suicide so that no parent has to experience such a tragedy ever again. Her efforts to assert love and acceptance stand as an ideal image of how LGBTQ+ issues, especially those pertaining to bullying and suicide, should be approached and how one should treat others regardless of sexual orientation and/or gender identity.
So, why can’t we do this? With an event such as this so close to home, we need to start talking about this more. The likelihood of LGBTQ+ youth to attempt suicide is almost five times as likely compared to heterosexual youth (according to the Center for Disease Control), and we don’t take a public stance on this? If we don’t start talking now, then when will we?
If you or anyone you know is experiencing suicidal thoughts or depression, the following resources are available:
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (800-273-8255): Speak with someone who will provide free and confidential support 24 hours a day, seven days a week. To learn how to help someone in crisis, call the same number.
Colorado Crisis Services Hotline (1-844-493-8255): If you are in crisis or need help dealing with one, call 1-844-493-8255 or text “TALK” to 38255 to speak to a trained professional. When calling Colorado Crisis Services, you will be connected to a crisis counselor or trained professional with a master’s or doctoral degree.
The Trevor Project (1-866-488-7386): A 24/7 resource for LGBT youth struggling with a crisis or suicidal thoughts. The line is staffed by trained counselors.
Colorado Crisis Services Walk-In Locations: Walk-in crisis service centers are open 24/7, and offer confidential, in-person crisis support, information and referrals to anyone in need.
Safe 2 Tell Colorado (1-877-543-7233): A 24/7 resource for students to anonomously keep yourself or someone you know safe from threats, harmful behaviors or dangerous situations. By calling, you can help stop a friend from committing suicide, get another student off drugs, or stop a bully from making other people miserable. If you have information about the following topics, please call.
Colorado Child Abuse and Neglect Hotline (1-844-264-5437): The best resource for readers to report suspected child abuse and neglect.
The number serves as a direct, immediate and efficient route to all Colorado’s 64 counties and two tribal nations, which are responsible for accepting and responding to child abuse and neglect concerns. All callers are able to speak with a call-taker 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.