Wednesday, October 26, 2011


Suicide Resources

American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP)

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline
1-800-273- TALK (1-800-273-8255)

Glendon Association
Saving lives and enhancing mental health by addressing the social problems of suicide.

Joining Forces
Responding to the health care needs of returning military, to assist in understanding what returning veteran and their family members have experienced.

Lifeline Gallery: Stories of Hope and Recovery
A safe space for survivors of suicide, suicide attempt survivors, those who struggled with suicidal thoughts and those in the suicide prevention field to share their stories of hope and recovery.

Stories That Heal
African-American suicide prevention public awareness campaign.

We Can Help Us
Teen suicide prevention public awareness campaign.

American Association of Suicidology

The Jed Foundation
College-aged and campus information

The Link Counseling Ceter
Grief, support, education and counseling for families.

National Organization of People of Color Against Suicide
Community-based suicide prevention for minority communities.

Suicide & Bullying Resources

The Trevor Project
24 hour, national crisis and suicide prevention lifeline for gay and questioning teens.
1-866-4-U-Trevor (1-866-488-7386)

Bullying Resources

The National Center for Bullying Prevention
Promoting awareness and teaching effective ways to respond to bullying.

STOMP Out Bullying
Reducing bullying and cyberbulling.

The Matthew Shepard Foundation
Matthew’s Place, an online community and resource center for LGBTQ youth.

Working to eradicate bullying and bias in schools.

The Human Rights Campaign’s Welcome Schools Guide
An approach to addressing family diversity, gender stereotyping, and name-calling in K-5th grades. Great tool for educators and parents!

Claim Your Rights
A resource for students, parents, and teachers to report bullying, particularly in schools.

GLBTQ Online High School
A safe place to complete a high school education and diploma from anywhere you have internet access.

Oddly enough, Cartoon Network has a neat little website with tips and information regarding anti-bullying. You can check it out here:

And for more Canadian readers (do I have some out there?); the LGBT Youth Line is a toll-free Ontario-wide peer-support phone line for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning young people in Ontario, Canada. The Youth Line provides online peer-support through phone, email and text messaging!

Sunday, October 23, 2011

A Living, Breathing Eulogy

When I was 4 I learned how to:

Braid Hair
Tie a shoe using the bunny ear method
Thread a needle
Read a few words
Count to 10 in Spanish

I also learned how to slap my mother across the face. This was necessary when she’d taken too much medication and would fall asleep in the big orange chair.

I don’t know how old I was when I realized that other children don’t stay up all night and watch MASH and eat fried egg sandwiches, then sleep the day away. Or that other children play with siblings and parents during on the weekends, not by yourself or with the dog because “We don’t wake mommy, even if there’s a fire”. And how. When you’ve lived a half-century without a good night’s rest or a healthy image of your body or spirit, or a fear that you have lost your mind because people think you are crazy, stupid, lazy or twenty years older than you are- would you want to be awakened by an 8 year old who needs what you can’t provide?

When I was 9 she was hospitalized for hip and back problems. Of course years later I found out that there weren’t any hip or back problems, but that she was voluntarily hospitalized for manic depression. One of many times to come. More often than not, she committed herself, without struggle. After that many years, you gotta figure, well- if it helps, it helps.

Do I resent my own mother? Yes. All the time. I resent that when I need things, as people do, she’s not there. I resent that for all the times I couldn’t be as much of a child as I wanted to be, I was okay with it because secretly I thought that she would get better, and I would get that back. That somehow, some year, I would get what I thought was owed me. And you know, I did. When she took her life and I collapsed in a heap, I was definitely a child. At 25, I was 7 and I needed my mommy.

When she had cancer, people came out of the woodwork. How much casserole can one person even eat? The love and support poured out of friends and colleagues like water, and we lapped it up. We went on vacations (“who knows, it might be the last one!”), Leeza Gibbons cried at our plight, the soothing crinkling of the cellophane on gift baskets was the soundtrack to our lives. But when the chemo was over, when her white count was up, when she was back to a healthy weight but still couldn’t get out of bed then the casseroles dried up, no one called and we were alone again, naturally.

We talk about fighting the stigma, and if you ask me, nothing has more stigma attached to it than The Big One: suicide. Please don’t think that there is no comedy to be found in the suicide of a loved one. Support groups often erupt in laughter at the pure absurdity of it. My mother wrote in her suicide note that she didn’t want to kill herself because then I would be The Girl Whose Mother Killed Herself. Well here we fucking are, and I am just that.

Let’s not pretend I don’t say What If? Every single day of my life. I didn’t live in the same city and I am just as guilty of abandoning her as anyone else. I tell myself that it’s okay because the guilt she would have felt if I’d lived in my hometown instead of following my dreams would have been too much for her, but guess what? It was too much no matter what, and I could have spent her remaining years with her and I chose not to, so that’s my cross to bear, and it’s heavy as shit.

Who had two thumbs and constantly fears her mind is unraveling? This girl!
Someone once asked me, “Do you ever think the constant fear of going crazy will drive you crazy?” Um, yes. Of course I do. We all worry about inheriting our mother’s mannerisms, her ticks, her voice, her deep affection for Joni Mitchell, her hatred of loud music, rude people and all things electronic. But then eventually you realize that you want her voice, her ticks, her obsession with hot pink and skyblue uniball pens hotpinkandskyblueonlyiftherearegreenintheboxIwilljustthrowthemaway. You want the good stuff.

But we can’t pick and choose and let’s face it. It will all happen. You will have to ask someone to cut your food, remember your name, carry you to bed, calm you down, drive you home and you may have your mail clippers, your lighter, your precious pens, your quiet, regal dignity taken away from you at whatever hospital, whatever program you find yourself in.

Let’s get one thing straight. My mother was never neurotic. She did once drive a car down the sidewalk , but neurotic? No. And let’s not kid ourselves- my mother was a great mother. This is a woman who taught me what strength is, what womanhood is, what wit is. She fought the stigma every day, and even after death she fights it. She’s in my voice, my hands, she’s in this room that I built with nine friends. She’s in my blood sweat and tears and in all of the papers that are filled with her bold, loopy, beautiful handwriting.

The truth is that I’m lucky. For all of the tears, for all of the anger, for all of the questioning, I had (have) a mother who was beautiful, brilliant, and yes, crazy as all giddyup, it was that same woman who looked at me after I was born and said, “I know you, why didn’t you tell me it was going to be you”, because she connected to people on a level that people who aren’t mentally ill, people who aren’t different, people who aren’t bat shit insane, can never understand. And for that, the word grateful can’t even begin to describe.

Contributed by Jessica Murphey Garrett

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Welcome to Forget U Knot

Welcome to Forget U Knot!

I would like to take the time to welcome you, share with you who we are, what is our purpose and goal, and invite you to share with us!

Who we Are:
The creator of Forget U Knot is a survivor of suicide and has been a victim to suicide and bullying. She is working toward earning her Master's degree and professional license to mental health counseling in order to help those who have loved and lost; have been bullied; or suffer from suicide ideations. Our future goal is to add an outreach program for those in need starting locally and expanding statewide as well as nationally.

Our Purpose & Goal:
The purpose of Forget U Knot is to bring awareness to bullying and suicide; educate others in bullying and suicide; and prevent bullying and suicide through awareness and education.

Forget U Knot will be offering handmade items for purchase with proceeds benefiting anti-bullying and suicide organizations. Donations will also be accepted for anti-bullying and suicide organizations.

Please Share!
Forget U Knot has contributors who have shared their stories, poems, memories, photos, etc. with others in order to bring awareness, education, and prevention to bullying and/or suicide. We ask that you share what you are comfortable sharing to be posted on our blog. You can have your name be known or you can contribute anonymously. Please email your stories, poems, memories, photos, etc. to forgetuknot (at) gmail (dot) com.

Contact Us:
Email: forgetuknot (at) gmail (dot) com

Friday, October 21, 2011

October is National Anti-bullying Month: Helping Kids Deal with Bullies

Helping Kids

If your child tells you about a bully, focus on offering comfort and support, no matter how upset you are. Kids are often reluctant to tell adults about bullying because they feel embarrassed and ashamed that it's happening, or worry that their parents will be disappointed.

Sometimes kids feel like it's their own fault, that if they looked or acted differently it wouldn't be happening. Sometimes they're scared that if the bully finds out that they told, it will get worse. Others are worried that their parents won't believe them or do anything about it. Or kids worry that their parents will urge them to fight back when they're scared to.

Praise your child for being brave enough to talk about it. Remind your child that he or she isn't alone- a lot of people get bullied at some point. Emphasize that it's the bully who is behaving badly- not your child. Reassure your child that you will figure out what to do about it together.

Sometimes an older sibling or friend can help deal with the situation. It may help your daughter to hear how the older sister she idolizes was teased about her braces and how she dealt with it. An older sibling or friend also might be able to give you some perspective on what's happening at school, or wherever the bullying is happening, and help you figure out the best solution.

Take is seriously if you hear that the bullying gets worse if the bully finds out that your child told. Sometimes it's useful to approach the bully's parents. In other cases, teachers or counselors are the best ones to contact first. If you've tried those methods and still want to speak to the bully child's parents, it's best to do so in a context where a school official, such as a counselor, can mediate.

Many states have bullying laws and policies. Find out about the laws in your community. In certain cases, if you have serious concerns about your child's safety, you may need to contact legal authorities.

Advice for Kids

The key to helping kids is providing strategies that deal with bullying on an everyday basis and also help restore their self-esteem and regain a sense of dignity.

It may be tempting to tell a kid to fight back. After all, you're angry that your child is suffering and maybe you were told to "stand up for yourself" when you were young. And you may worry that your child will continue to suffer at the hands of the bully.

But it's important to advise kids not to respond to bullying by fighting or bullying back. It can quickly escalate into violence, trouble, and someone getting injured. Instead, it's best to walk away from the situation, hang out with others, and tell an adult.

Here are some other strategies to discuss with kids that can help improve the situation and make them feel better:

-Avoid the bully and use the buddy system. Use a different bathroom if a bully is nearby and don't go to your locker when there is nobody around. Make sure you have someone with you so that you're not alone with the bully. Buddy up with a friend on the bus, in the hallways, or at recess- wherever the bully is. Offer to do the same for a friend.

-Hold the anger. It's natural to get upset by the bully, but that's what bullies thrive on. It makes them feel more powerful. Practice not reacting by crying or looking red or upset. It takes a lot of practice, but it's a useful skill for keeping off a bully's radar. Sometimes kids find it useful to practice "cool down" strategies such as counting to 10, writing down their angry words, taking deep breaths or walking away. Sometimes the best thing to do is to teach kids to wear a "poker face" until they are clear of any danger (smiling or laughing may provoke the bully).

-Act brave, walk away, and ignore the bully. Firmly and clearly tell the bully to stop, then walk away. Practice ways to ignore the hurtful remarks, like acting uninterested or texting someone on your cell phone. By ignoring the bully, you're showing that you don't care. Eventually, the bully will probably get bored with trying to bother you.

-Tell an adult. Teachers, principals, parents, and lunchroom personnel at school can all help stop bullying.

-Talk about it. Talk to someone you trust, such as a guidance counselor, teacher, sibling, or friend. They may offer some helpful suggestions, and even if they can't fix the situation, it may help you feel a little less alone.

-Remove the incentives. If the bully is demanding your lunch money, start bringing your lunch. If he's trying to get your music player, don't bring it to school.

Reaching Out

At home you can lessen the impact of the bullying. Encourage your kids to get together with friends that help build their confidence. Help them meet other kids by joining clubs or sports programs. And find activities that can help a child feel confident and strong. Maybe it's a self defense class like karate or a movement or other gym class.

And just remember: as upsetting as bullying can be for you and your family, lots of people and resources are available to help.


The Nemours Foundation. (2010). Helping kids deal with bullies. Retrieved October 13, 2011, from

Thursday, October 13, 2011

October is National Anti-bullying Month: Teaching a Child NOT to Bully

Helping Kids Stop Bullying

Let your child know that bullying is unacceptable and that there will be serious consequences at home, school, and in the community if it continues.

Try to understand the reasons behind your child's behavior. In some cases, kids bully because they have trouble managing strong emotions like anger, frustration, or insecurity. In other cases, kids haven't learned cooperative ways to work out conflicts and understand differences.

Tactics to Try

Be sure to:

-Take bullying seriously. Make sure your kids understand that you will not tolerate bullying at home or anywhere else. Establish rules about bullying and stick to them. If you punish your child by taking away privileges, be sure it's meaningful. For example, if your child bullies other kids via email, text messages, or a social networking sites, dock phone or computer privileges for a period of time. If your child acts aggressively at home, with siblings or others, put a stop to it. Teach more appropriate (and nonviolent) ways to react, like walking away.

-Teach kids to treat others with respect and kindness. Teach your child that it is wrong to ridicule differences (i.e., race, religion, appearance, special needs, gender, economic status) and try to instill a sense of empathy for those who are different. Consider getting involved together in a community group where your child can interact with kids who are different.

-Learn about your child's social life. Look for insight into the factors that may be influencing your child's behavior in the school environment (or wherever the bulling is occurring). Talk with parents of your child's friends and peers, teachers, guidance counselors, and the school principal. Do other kids bully? What about your child's friends? What kinds of pressures do the kids face at school? Talk to your kids about those relationships and about the pressures to fit in. Get them involved in activities outside of school so that they meet and develop friendships with other kids.

-Encourage good behavior. Positive reinforcement can be more powerful than negative discipline. Catch your kids being good- and when they handle situations in ways that are constructive or positive, take notice and praise them for it.

-Set a good example. Think carefully about how you talk around your kids and how you handle conflict and problems. If you behave aggressively- toward or in front of your kids- chances are they'll follow your example. Instead, point out positive in others, rather than negatives. And when conflicts arise in your own life, be open about the frustrations you have and how you cope with your feelings.

Starting at Home

When looking for the influences on your child's behavior, look first at what's happening at home. Kids who live with yelling, name calling, putdowns, harsh criticism, or physical anger from a sibling or parent/caregiver may act that out in other settings.

It's natural- and common- for kids to fight with their siblings at home. And unless there's a risk of physical violence it is wise not to get involved. But monitor the name calling and any physical altercations and be sure to talk to each child regularly about what's acceptable and what's not.

It's important to keep your own behavior in check too. Watch how you talk to your kids, and how you react to your own strong emotions when they're around. There will be situations that warrant discipline and constructive criticism. But take care not to let that slip into name calling and accusations. If you're not pleased with your child's behavior, stress that it's the behavior that you'd like your child to change, and you have confidence that he or she can do it.

If your family is going through a stressful life event that you feel may have contributed to your child's behavior, reach out for help from the resources at school and in your community. Guidance counselors, pastors, therapists, and your doctor can help.

Getting Help

To help a child stop bullying, talk with teachers, guidance counselors, and other school officials who can help you identify situations that lead to bullying and provide assistance.

Your doctor also might be able to help. If your child has a history of arguing, defiance, and trouble controlling anger, consider an evaluation with a therapist or behavioral health professional.

As difficult and frustrating as it can be to help kids stop bullying, remember that bad behavior won't just stop on its own. Think about the success and happiness you want your kids to find in school, work, and relationships throughout life, and know that curbing bullying now is progress toward these goals.


The Nemours Foundation. (2010). Teaching kids not to bully. Retrieved October 13, 2011, from

October is National Anti-bullying Month: Warning Signs

Signs your child is being bullied:

*Comes home with damaged or missing clothing or belongings
*Reports losing items such as books, electronics, clothing, or jewelry
*Has unexplained injuries
*Complains frequently of headaches, stomachaches, or feeling sick
*Has trouble sleeping or has frequent bad dreams
*Has changes in eating habits
*Hurts themselves
*Are very hungry after school from not eating their lunch
*Runs away from home
*Loses interest in visiting or talking with friends
*Is afraid of going to school or other activities with peers
*Loses interest in school work or begins to do poorly in school
*Appears sad, moody, angry, anxious or depressed when they came home
*Talks about suicide
*Feels helpless
*Often feels like they are not good enough
*Blames themselves for their problems
*Suddenly has fewer friends
*Avoids certain places
*Acts differently than usual

Signs your child is a bully:

*Becomes violent with others
*Gets into physical or verbal fights with others
*Gets sent to the principal’s office or detention a lot
*Has extra money or new belongings that cannot be explained
*Is quick to blame others
*Will not accept responsibility for their actions
*Has friends who bully others
*Needs to win or be best at everything

Resource: (n.d.) Recognizing the warning signs. Retrieved October 13, 2011, from

October is National Anti-bullying Month: Stats

-An estimated 30% of 6th to 10th graders in the United States were either a bully, a target of bullying, or both (, 2009).

-In 2007, 5.5% of kids did not go to school on at least one day in a 30 day period because they felt unsafe at school, on the way to school or on the way home from school (, 2009).

-Statistics from a 2007 survey suggest that bullying impacts nearly 1 out of every 3 students in middle school and high school (NICHD, 2010).

-1 out of 9, or approximately 2.8 million teenagers, reported that they had been pushed, shoved, tripped, or spit on during the last school year (2006) while another 1.5 million students reported being threatened with physical harm (NICHD, 2010).

-In the same 2007 survey, 900,000 high school students report being cyberfullied (NICHD, 2010).

-According to the CDC in 2010, 32% of students reported being bullied in the 2007 school year.


Center for Disease Control & Prevention. (2009). Youth violence: Facts at a glance. Retrieved October 13, 2011, from

Center for Disease Control & Prevention. (2010). Youth violence: Facts at a glance. Retrieved October 13, 2011, from

National Institute of Child Health & Human Development. (2010). Taking a stand against bullyingRetrieved October 13, 2011, from