Students from high schools in Woodstock walked out of school today to stage a rally at Museum Square in the heart of the Oxford County City. There is a growing concern in the southwest Ontario city concerning the growing number of suicides and attempted suicides in their community. Having been born and raised in Woodstock this news is troubling.
I’m not aware of proven reasons behind these deaths but can only surmise: depression, drugs, bullying, online harassment, unemployment, tough love or lack of it, etc. Back when I was a teenager we had the YMCA, YWCA, Scouts, summer camp, Air Cadets, Sea Cadets, High School Cadets, church clubs, group activities out of our ears, family reunions and lots to keep us busy.
This week WCI, Woodstock Collegiate Institute is honouring on its wall of fame, members of the Red Devils football team that won every game in 1955-56. I played snap/centre on the good old red and white back then. It seems to me, as long as young people are bullied, goalless, lack purpose, it is easier to fall into a hell of a funk….from there a spiral begins into the deep dark regions of one’s mind….if one has a friend with the same fixation…..then suicide seems the only relief. We pray parents and professionals become more proactive, listen to their young people and let them know they are truly loved. Midland is not so different than Woodstock.