Posts Tagged ‘teen suicide’

Teen Suicide Prevention Through Photography

October 6, 2011

There’s a lot going on in the minds of our youth.

And it’s not all good.

Jamey Rodemeyer’s tragic death through suicide reminds us of the importance of daily thoughts in the overall life experience. Someone who is focused daily on the negative aspects of life is setting him or herself up for severe mental and  physical consequences. None of which is more tragic than the death of one so young.

The fact that he was from my own community here in Buffalo, NY makes it all the more personal.

But what can be done to replace these negative thoughts with more positive ones?

One organization in Australia has found that young people who feel connected, supported and understood are less likely to complete suicide. Reports on the attitudes of young people, identified as at risk of suicide, support the notion that connectedness, a sense of being supported and respected are protective factors for young people at risk of suicide.

Reports like these support my findings that digital photography can have a therapeutic effect on all people, perhaps especially teens who are open to gadgets and the new digital technologies. What would happen if these troubled teens could simply grab their camera and spend some time searching out the beauty in this world? If my recent survey is any indication…good things!

In my survey of over 100 photographers, 93% reported that photography made them feel good about themselves. Imagine what a boost in self-esteem could do?  And not just for suicidal teens, but for most teen who struggle with issues of worth.

More than half the photographers in the survey felt more connected to the local community and the world. This is exactly what these kids need.

8 out of 10 reported that their involvement in photography had increased their contact with other people. Isolation is a sure route to depression.  But when we get out and seek out new areas and adventures a magical thing happens…we find them.

It’s amazing how closely my survey results parallel the Australian research. This strongly suggests that we need to put more emphasis on the arts in school and really show kids the beauty in this world. We need to focus attention on all that’s good and beautiful in this world and send our young people out with a positive expectation of finding it everywhere.We need to give them a new view…through the viewfinder.

Photography training does just that and more. Plus…it’s fun!

I’ve collected countless stories of folks who’ve overcome severe physical and mental challenges through photography and I’m convinced anyone can change their life in a flash through photography.

If you’re interested in these stories or learning more about how photography can quickly improve your life, or the life of someone you love, please go to