Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Suicides and RU OK? Day (Australia)

According to national statistics, over 34,000 people in the United States die by suicide annually. It is also the 3rd leading cause of death for teenagers between 15 and 19. Life is hard but they are especially difficult for young people who have yet lived long enough to cultivate a sense of self and create supportive networks.

We live in a society that promotes idealistic experiences during ones youth. All other realities are shunned so young people only know to keep their pain to themselves. It includes physical, sexual, and emotional abuse at home, ostracization and bullying in school...

In light of recent suicides of GLBT youth due to bullying and social non-acceptance, we should consider what kind of society we have created. As many commentators have noted, before we ask, why the suicides, we must consider how our society has been complicit in creating an environment of intolerance. We have laws and policies that explicitly say same sex marriages and relationships are wrong. This is the message absorbed by GLBT youth. So, it is a lot to ask them to just buckle up and that "things will get better" when really, all they see around them is government sanctioned bigotry and oppression.

Other countries like Australia recognize that modern societies are terribly alienating. We may be aware of people's pain, but we either ignore or don't know how to address it. So, Australia created
RU OK? Day, which began October 7, 2009. On this day annually, you are to ask people around if they are in fact doing okay and extend aid anyway you can.

I find it a bit comical as with all national holidays, in that it only lasts one day. I mean would it go like this?: "Are you OK today? But only today, okay? I didn't give a shit yesterday and certainly won't tomorrow; but, TODAY, genuinely, you okay?" All joking aside, suicide is an important issue. Tolerance, kindness and sincerely caring for your fellow human beings should be a given. What do you think you can do?


Anonymous said...

With society in shambles as it is, how do you suggest we make a difference? Education, society along with it, is really undermined by people's beliefs. The biggest source for it stems from misguided hatred because of bible thumping people. For instance, where a teacher was fired for teaching students how to read books. But parents thought the books were to liberal and promoted gay agenda, so they censored the books and eventually got a teacher fired for doing her job. Parents were angry their teachers were doing their job! Does it get any more absurd than that?

I use to think education is the solution to things, but in truth people are now more reluctant to accept logical reasoning over personal beliefs.


kieulinh said...

HT, Education is the answer but when education along with government and other institutions are hijacked by those wanting to advance a 'belief; and not truth, we have our current state of affairs. The country needs to recognize we are in 'shambles' in order for real change to take place. When corporations own media and media is in bed with government and government oversees education, the people will never recognize the nation is in 'shambles.' -monkey lounge