On Monday, 17-year-old Ashley Duncan tweeted, “I finally got a gun” along with a picture of a revolver. Later that day, she walked to the banks of Brays Bayou in Houston and killed herself.
Referring to comments on Duncan’s Tumblr page indicating she may have taken the drug ecstasy, Keke wrote that people don’t realize that ecstasy causes depression. She also discussed her own issues with low self-esteem:
“I think I’m BEAUTIFUL! I didn’t start feeling that way completely until I liked the person on the INSIDE, and that’s real.”
“Please people speak up if you’re struggling with anything!!”
“Emotions only last for but a few seconds. We humans are the ones that dwell on it. Just remember, there will be a better day.”
“I’ve been through things in my life like all teenagers! I’ve felt silenced but I said ‘HEY!! I’m hurt, I’m angry!’ even [if] no one listens!”
“You are put on this earth to learn and to make a change in your life or someone else’s life, whatever! Just know YOU HAVE A REASON!”
As the Huffington Post points out, Ashley Duncan’s death is the second teen suicide in the area in just a few months. In November, high-school student Ashley Billasano sent out 144 tweets of despair about molestation, forced prostitution, and cutting herself before taking her own life.
Suicide prevention advocate Bill Berger says the Internet has made it easier for teens to speak out about how they feel, but it makes an intervention that much harder.
“In the olden days, you had to talk face to face. Now we have this wall of protection called the Internet and I think it’s easier for people to release their feelings.”
Hopefully meeting teens where they’re most comfortable, like Keke Palmer attempted, will make a difference.
Brande Victorian is a blogger and culture writer in New York City. Follower her on Twitter at @be_vic.
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