Suicide has become the third leading cause of death among young people in the United States. In fact, approximately 4,600 people between the ages of 10 and 24 take their own lives each year.
In most instances, teen suicides are linked to bullying, peer pressure, emotional neglect and domestic abuse, but people fail to realize that this state of mind does not develop overnight. It starts out as a lingering thought in the back of the head and remains that way until someone hits rock bottom.
As scary and unnerving as it is, experts believe suicide among teens is mostly preventable, which is why a young North Dakota girl is trying to spread some positivity around her school where only a year ago, a 16-year-old had committed suicide.
Desi Frith, a student at Devils Lake High School, is on a mission to help lift the spirits of her peers and remind them that they're loved and supported – and she is doing it with some colorful notes, a pen and a lot of good intentions.
“If they are going through something hard, and then they see one of them, it shows that somebody cares,” the 17-year-old explained. “I got a bunch of sticky notes, and I started putting them up the first week of school, and then I do it once a week.”
It all started after her classmate Kristopher Curtis committed suicide. Although Frith didn’t know him very well, she was affected by his death just days before the last school year began and desperately wished she could have helped him with whatever he was going through.
“He seemed down and I never said anything, and so I felt really bad about that,” she recalled.
She hopes to help others, and spends an hour and a half after school each week, writing hundreds of inspirational messages to fellow students and leaving them on lockers or walls where anyone might see them.
“As long as it was making them happy in their day that's all that mattered,” Frith said, adding that she is not putting up these notes for any type of appreciation or fame. She doesn't even care if students know who's leaving the notes because her main concern is to remind others that they should be proud of themselves.
Her notes comprise of messages like, “You’re special,” You are loved” and “Stay strong and never give up” – something that has resonated with the students very well. They have not only thanked her for her kind words, they believe her comments brighten their lives.
Frith, currently in her junior year, plans to keep writing these messages until she graduates.
Scientific evidence suggests most people who take their own life have a diagnosable mental or substance abuse disorder, which means isolation or loneliness can trigger the symptoms considerably.
Frith’s kind deed just goes to show that there is always someone out there trying to make the world a better place, and she might even save lives by being an inspiration for other kids her age.