Teen’s Death Inspires Keke Palmer to Tweet Suicide Prevention Message

February 2, 2012  |  

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.

For several days leading up to her death, the young girl sent tweets to hundreds of followers signaling depression such as “The only thing that made me happy is gone…I’m miserable.” Now Keke Palmer has used the same tool as the troubled girl to speak out against teen suicide.

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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  • lisa

    RIP beautiful one

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  • Chynadoll

    This breaks my heart.  I remember a time being depressed like everyone but suicide was not an option.  Parents please lift your children up.  My father told me daily i was beautiful, so no matter what anyone else told me i was beautiful.  It starts at home folks.  Parents go back to our roots.  Kids need privacy but it is a limitation in your household.  Her mother should have know her daughter was bringing a gun in the home or had one for that matter.  Open our eyes we have to take our youth back.

  • Miss_Understood

    Rest in Peace…I wish our people weren’t so uncomfortable about mental illness…

  • MissDiva05

    I must say that KeKe Palmer is one graceful young lady. I just adore the person that she is growing up to be. I definitely don’t believe it’s her responsibility to be a positive role model for our children, but she has taken on that role and has done a great job thus far. This story really breaks my heart though. 

  • Stopit

    Lord, I wish someone reading her tweets would have contacted a responsible caring adult..I could never read something like this and then just do nothing.  

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  • Sugar_Spice

    From my experience, when you’re an AA, especially a kid, dealing with depression it is very hard to reach out to someone. As a teenager I dealt with a lot of issues & even had suicidal thoughts.  I felt ashamed because I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard people say that suicide & depression are “white people problems”.  We as a community need to make ourselves more open so these children & adults don’t feel alone.

    • Tyra

      Thanks for sharing your story and I agree with your comments on we as a community coming together and having a dialogue on this issue. Blessings!

  • guest510

    God bless these children! Everyone needs to know they’re loved and appreciated. Parents, pleaseeee love on your children. So lucky I had my granny for 24 years. If nobody else loved me, I knew she did. Suicide is NEVER the answer. These poor suffering babies. Now I know why my granny would say “Lord have mercy!”

  • Smacks_hoes

    A little girl also hung herself this week from being bullied.her name was Eira Maghuyop. This is soo sad and it seems like it’s becoming some sort or epidemic. Kids are killing themselves so often now. I wish they would realize suicide doesn’t solve anything. Rip darling

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