On November 13, 2010 Daron Richardson took her own life, at just 14 years old. Today would have been her 15th birthday and has been dubbed Do It For Daron (DIFD) Day. It is a day to wear purple, which was Daron’s favorite color, and to initiate discussions around mental health issues in support of the Richardson family and all the young people who suffer in silence.
To support the Royal Ottawa Hospital Foundation for Mental Health Youth Program in memory of Daron, please click here.
Having a day like D.I.F.D. Day where you are encouraged to discuss mental health issues was a great opportunity for me to have an open discussion with my 12 year old daughter (@kid_lotus) about what the day stands for, why it was started and what resources there are if she thinks she or someone she knows needs help. I obviously would prefer she talk to me, but if she can’t, I want her to be aware that there are people she can turn to (the contact information for the Mental Health Crisis Line, the Youth Services Bureau & Kids Help Phone is at the bottom of this post).
If you have been following me on twitter, you know it’s been a bit of a roller coaster time for @kid_lotus and I – don’t get me wrong, she’s awesome, but this turning into a teenager thing is challenging at best. Discussing a topic like mental health and suicide is just another reminder of the swift passage of time. (Coincidentally, in the car on the way to school, we were listening to The Morning Hot Tub (guess who chose that!) on Hot 89.9 and there was a discussion around sexting & sending inappropriate photos of yourself – it was a heavy conversation topics morning in the lotus household!)
@kid_lotus and I covered why it is important to be open about how and what she is feeling and who she can talk to about that. We also talked about how to recognize that something actually is changing and what she should do if she sees these changes in others. This was very matter of fact for her as we have talked about this before, more so since I have been working on the organizing committee for Twestival Ottawa. Our charity is the Royal Ottawa Hospital (ROH) Foundation for Mental Health and she tends to ask questions about what I do and was even at the inaugural organizing committee meeting.
For some time now, @kid_lotus has been wanting to do a fundraiser at her school, but she hadn’t figured out what charity to work with yet. After our talk about mental health, she told me she had finally decided on what she wanted to do and what charity. She said: “You know how desserts spelled backwards is stressed? I want to do a bake sale to raise money for something like the ROH’s Foundation for Mental Health. Because sometimes it’s when you get stressed out that things start to go wrong and kids commit suicide.” Just like that… As matter of fact like as when she told me the best way to not get pregnant was to keep her pants on :) She’s a smart cookie that one, I tell ya. So she and I will be organizing a bake sale at her school. Because she is amazing and has a huge heart and loves to help…
So living with a teenager is sometimes trying, but boy, the payoff is pretty amazing too!
Youth Services Bureau – 24/7 – Crisis Line: 613-260-2360 or 1-877-377-7775
Mental Health Crisis Line: 1-866-996-0991
Kids Help Phone: 1-800-668-6868