Suvra Rahman, Coordinator & Director, AE Academy, Toronto
It was around 7 in the evening. I was taking my tutoring classes. Everything was as usual. Suddenly my husband called me to his office! “Something very bad happened!” he looked frantic and restless! I had no idea what he was talking about. He said, “Jamanbhai’s son is dead!”
What! I thought I heard wrong. Last night when we two were going home from office we saw him crossing the street. Jacob, my husband was funnily saying, “Look at him, our Jamanbhai’s son, he kept long hair, he became Socrates, ha ha!” I also saw him, he was jay-walking!
I screamed what? What are you saying? We saw him just yesterday, crossing the road! Jacob said, “They found him on the go train track!” Wha….! Why? Did anyone push him? “No, he was all by himself, that’s what the police said” Jacob reported. Then he left for Jaed’s house, Jaed was his name.
I went after work. It is beyond description how the mother was wailing for her only son!! None of the family members has an answer to why Jaed killed himself. He was a straight A student, very amicable and helping towards his friends, no diagnosed mental health issue…no one knows.
Why did I inscribe such a sad occurrence right at the beginning of my journal? Because I wanted to scrutinize what’s happening with our children in Canada? We as parents are so rested that we brought them to one of the best countries in the world; they are getting the “best education”, “best health care”, “safe environment” etc, etc, etc…….. And what are we doing? We are constantly struggling for survival. Day and night…. Most of us are fish out of water, struggling with identity crisis, on top of that working odd jobs to put food on the table. Even the fortunate ones who are doing white collar jobs or running a business have no time for anyone as these jobs are highly time consuming. There is a continuous pressure to be up to date otherwise any morning you will be notified you are laid off!
One-in-five Canadian teenagers seriously considered suicide in the past year, according to a new report by Kids Help Phone which paints a stark picture of mental health among young people. The report titled “Teens Talk 2016” is based on the results of a survey of 1,319 teens aged 13 to 18, across the country and found 22 per cent of those who responded, seriously considered attempting suicide in the last 12 months. “Suicide is still a big taboo. People don’t like to think that someone they care about would be having thoughts like that,” Manion, the director of youth research at the Royal Ottawa Mental Health Centre, said. He added that the higher number of girls with suicidal thoughts could be attributed to a reporting bias, meaning boys are less likely to admit to thinking about taking their lives.
Can we do anything about it? Can we make a positive change? Yes, we can. We just have to change our perspectives. We have to decide that money is not everything in life. Our children are our assets, we have to nurture them, nourish them, save them, and protect them. And how can we do all these? Is it that tough? No, not at all. We just have to find a strategy to tackle the situation.
It’s often difficult for parents and kids to get together for a family meal, let alone spend quality time together. But there is probably nothing kids would like more. Get up 10 minutes earlier in the morning so you can eat breakfast with your child or leave the dishes in the sink and take a walk after dinner. Kids who aren’t getting the attention they want from their parents often act out or misbehave because they’re sure to be noticed that way.
Many parents find it rewarding to schedule together time with their kids. Create a “special night” each week to be together and let your kids help decide how to spend the time. Look for other ways to connect — put a note or something special in your kid’s lunchbox.
Adolescents seem to need less undivided attention from their parents than younger kids. Because there are fewer windows of opportunity for parents and teens to get together, parents should do their best to be available when their teen does express a desire to talk or participate in family activities. Attending concerts, games, and other events with your teen communicates caring and lets you get to know more about your child and his or her friends in important ways.
Don’t feel guilty if you’re a working parent. It is the many little things you do — making popcorn, playing cards, window shopping — that kids will remember. I may sound like a “Dadima”(grandma!) who is giving straight forward advice, but just take a deep breath and think about the points I made……. Didn’t I make you think twice about what you have been doing wrong so far or what should you do from now on? I along with my husband try to do these with my son who has been diagnosed with mental health issue and I am seeing a lot of positive change in my son. I am happy for the decisions I made. I always believe “It is not in the stars to hold our destiny but in ourselves.” – William Shakespeare.