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Image Credits: Hype-Alert Media

Unless you’ve been living your life under a rock for the past two weeks, you’ve probably at least heard the name Amanda Todd mentioned once or twice. Amanda Todd was a teenage girl who after years of being bullied, made the decision to end her life.

Before committing suicide, Amanda Todd made a YouTube video documenting her life as a bullied teenager struggling to cope with depression, anxiety, and drug and alcohol addictions caused by her depression and anxiety. Her video has a dismal mood to it as she chose to shoot it entirely in black and white with a series of messages written on cue cards. These messages explain how she was lured into flashing a man on webcam who praised and complimented her based on her appearance  Much to Amanda’s horror, her topless picture ended up going viral, making her the subject of many jokes and severe bullying. You can view the video below:

Video Credits: ChiaVideos

Sadly, the video ended with images of an individual bleeding after cutting. This could have been a premonition of Amanda’s fate, as she successfully committed suicide a week after releasing the video.

When news of Amanda’s suicide hit the web, many were quick to show their sympathy by tweeting “#RIPAmanda and creating Facebook pages. Others worried that these pages and the strong support shown via social media only glorified suicide. These individuals claimed that people were committing suicide because  they liked the attention shown to these individuals after their death.

From my own personal experience in studying suicide and having a close friend of mine who committed suicide in 2003 before many social media sites were created, I can say that social media might add to the problem of suicide, but it is not the problem itself. Suicide is a major problem facing teens and young adults today. These people have many issues triggering their suicide. Yes, with social media websites bullying becomes much easier — but it still exists outside of social media. Amanda Todd was bullied via social media…she was punched and beaten to the ground on school grounds though. She felt a range of emotions such as depression and anxiety that lead her to problems with drugs, alcohol, and self harm. She turned to social media for support, which she did not get. She was sick and in need of help. Her video was her final call for help, only by that point it was too late.

Don’t get me wrong…it’s nice to see communities of people stepping up and showing support for Amanda Todd now. She should have pages honoring her life, but let’s not lose focus. When it comes down to it, Amanda Todd is dead and she shouldn’t be. No one is supposed to end their life. That’s not the way it’s supposed to work. Instead of focusing on creating pages honoring individuals who have committed suicide, let’s really challenge the power of social media and use it for a greater good. We should invest our time and effort into showing support for suicide prevention groups like To Write Love on Her Arms (TWLOHA), Love is Louder, or The Yellow Ribbon Organization. Instead of getting people to “like” fan pages, lets get people to donate to charities to find a cure for depression, anxiety, self-harm and other things that may lead to suicide. Instead of glorifying suicide and praising, let’s end it. End suicide, not lives.

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Image Credits: The Huffington Post Canada 

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Image Credits: Jaime Loeza

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