Group takes stand against bullying

Asher Brown, left, killed himself earlier this year after his parents say he was bullied. On Saturday, a walk was held to raise awareness.

November 6, 2010 5:51:22 PM PDT
It's been almost two months since 13-year-old Asher Brown killed himself. His parents say he was bullied relentlessly at school. On Saturday, other parents and children came together, hoping to stop other children from being bullied and being pushed to suicide. Sharing the same pain, they lean on the strength of those around them, posting signs and wearing names and faces, frozen in time.

"You're never the same from it," said Asher Brown's mother, Amy Troung. "You're never the same."

Amy and David Truong, who have become the poster parents for anti-bullying campaigns, walked the perimeter of Stude Park Saturday in memory of their son, whose bullying-provoked suicide grabbed national headlines.

"It's not about Asher or any people who have died. It's for the people that still around. That's the most important thing, prevention," said Brown's stepfather, David Truong.

Some may smile as they walk, but every once in a while, it hits them. And they pause. Rianne Sykes is here for her little brother, Devon.

"Just a month ago, he took his life," she said. "He was just a teenager that didn't know it gets better."

Statistics show between 30,000 to 40,000 people take their own lives every year and when that happens, it impacts at least six other people in their lives. These are those people, the so called 'suicide survivors.'

"It's a different kind of grief, more difficult to deal with," said Lynda Arnold with the Crisis Intervention Houston.

Experts say suicide rates are soaring, especially among veterans and the unemployed. And with the epidemic recently trickling down to teenagers, families are candidly showcasing their varying shades of grief in hopes it saves a life.

"My brother has saved many lives," said Sykes. "And we're here to save the rest of them."

The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention organized Saturday's event. More than 1,000 people participated. That's four times more than last year. For more information on warning signs to watch for or how to help someone who may be suicidal, log on to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention website.


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