Shout Out Loud is a Minnesota based charity that focuses on normalizing the conversation about suicide prevention in our community and encouraging participation in local wellness resources. Below is a transcript of a recent video from Citizen Education contributor Brittani Senser, in which she shares her story and motivation to tackle the youth suicide epidemic head-on.
My name is Britanni Senser and on February 6th, 2019 I lost my daughter Aria Joy Burch Senser to suicide.
Aria was born when I was 20 years old. She is my only child and we grew up together.
Aria was the belle of the ball. Every time she would come in a room, you couldn’t help but notice her. She was so quick-witted and fun and her energy was infectious. She embodied creativity and to be around her was just pure joy.
In my experience thus far, I’ve found writing to be really helpful. I started a blog called Do You Care Now in honor of Aria to talk and speak about suicide prevention and awareness and to just bring some joy and light to such a heavy topic. I think when people think about suicide there’s still so much stigma.
There’s this belief that people who are depressed or suicidal look and act a certain way and that’s just not the case.
I think mental health is still so stigmatized because we don’t understand it and it does look different in every single person. One remedy and one treatment, therapy or medication doesn’t work for all.
What does prevention actually look like?
I think that is the piece that I’m really trying to focus on and working with Shout Out Loud with.
Kids nowadays are so enveloped in how people look at them and see them on social media, through Instagram and how many likes they get, they’re valued by what others think of them and that’s ultimately eating away at their wellbeing and self-esteem.
What I think is missing is the pre-prevention. I think social and emotional skills are just as important as academic skills in schools. I think teaching children social and emotional skills and learning empathy will help with bullying, and learning how to speak about how you’re feeling and acknowledging your feelings.
If you asked me what to Shout Out Loud about, I would just want to shout out Aria’s name. She was the biggest blessing of my life and I’m just so grateful for her and I will spend every day for the rest of my life doing what I can in her honor to bring suicide prevention and awareness to people and let them know they are not alone and there are people fighting. This is an issue and an epidemic and we are working to figure out what is the best solution.
You just never know what people are struggling with, you never know. You have to watch what you say, you have to watch how you treat people. Be kind, be loving, be joyful and if you need help don’t be afraid to ask for it because it might just be a matter of life or death.
If you see it in somebody you love and care about, ask, don’t be afraid, ask. You might just ask the right question to get them the help that they need.