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?