- About Us
Submitted by SOKMH on Tue, 10/16/2012 - 11:19
Blog submitted by Darryl Mathers - Kinark Child and Family Services
Hop on my Facebook timeline and you will notice I regularly post about two things: links to stories about mental health and photos of my two daughters.
In my time at Kinark Child and Family Services, I have become a big believer in the work we do with young people and their families. I have also become an advocate for removing the stigma associated with mental health.
As a father, I am conscious of my girls’ mental health, even at their young age. As they grow, I hope to instill values and provide tools and support to help them to live healthy lives, both socially and emotionally.
My biggest fear as a father is that the mental health of one or both of my daughters will be negatively impacted by bullying.
When I was growing up it was called being ‘picked on’, not bullying, and I experienced both sides of it.
Constantly concerned about my status with the cool kids, I did what I could to keep my standing. I preyed on kids who I deemed to be weaker than I was through teasing and name-calling in order to acquire giggles and social currency with a peer group I felt unworthy to be around. Alternately, I remember the anxious and hopeless feelings when older kids who were higher up on the pecking order chose to do the same or worse to me.
While my past is a big influence, it’s not just my childhood memories that fuel my fear. There are so many gut-wrenching bullying stories being told everyday that it has become a top of mind worry as I watch my daughters grow.
Last week, Amanda Todd, a 15-year-old from Port Coquitlam, B.C. committed suicide after being the victim of ongoing bullying. Her tale of how a moment of poor judgment turned her into the target of incessant cyber-bullies has been making headlines around the world. Amanda’s suicide just a month after posting a YouTube video detailing her struggle inspired Globe and Mail reporter Carly Weeks to share her memories of being bullied as a 12-year-old girl.
I appreciate Ms. Weeks’ honesty. It was a powerful article that stirred emotion and took courage to write.
It also helped confirm my fear and has inspired me to learn more about how I can help my daughters. During their childhood I want them to acquire the skills they will need to be successful, well-adjusted adults. But I also want to know when and how I should protect them from the trying situations they will face throughout their journey to adulthood.
The events surrounding Amanda’s death have given me and many parents a lot to think about as we try to make our kids’ world as safe a place as possible.
Carly Weeks - www.twitter.com/carlyweeks