Teen Uses Faceboook to Give Hope to Suicidal Youth
Adolescence -- for all of its trauma and anguish -- comes and goes in the blink of an eye.
Adults know this. They have been through the valley of the shadow of angst. Teenagers, however, lack that perspective. They peer into the future and can see nothing but more of the same.
Austin Watson, 18, of Mount Juliet, Tenn., 20 miles east of Nashville, knows how they feel.
"I couldn't see a future for me," he tells WTVF, the ABC affiliate in Nashville. "I couldn't see any potential, and so I thought I don't belong in this world."
Watson says he planned to kill himself, and although he obviously didn't, two of his friends did. Now the recent graduate of Mount Juliet High School uses "We All Matter," a page he created on Facebook, to talk suicidal students off ledges both metaphorical and painfully real.
"This website is basically a place to come share their stories or struggles," Watson tells WTVF. "It's a judgment-free zone."
The teen started by sharing his own story. Now, WTVF reports, he's connected with teens across the country.
"I have tried to kill myself five times," reads one comment on Watson's page. "I did it because I was ... in pain. I get picked on for being gay, and they have put a bag over my head to tell me I should die. I thought people did not know what I went through, and here (you) tell me that I am not (the) only (one), and I know where to go to if I need help."
Watson tells his readers they mean a lot to him.
"I am so inspired to see all of you and hear all of your stories," he writes on his page. "Even if you aren't struggling, chances are you know someone who is. You could make a huge impact on someone's life by sharing this page. You may just become someone's hero."
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Start by teaching him that it is safe to do so.