Some days 18-year-old Chelsea Lall is amazed she’s even here.
The high school student first tried to kill her self three days after her 15th birthday.
“It’s kind of scary looking back on it now, being 15 years old and wanting to end your life,” said Lall.
She said the thoughts and voices in her head were intense.
“It would be constantly ‘kill yourself, kill yourself’,” she said.
Bullying on social media added to her pain.
“I’d get messages from people I’d never talked to before saying ‘kill myself,'” she said.
Anxiety and depression kept her away from school for weeks, and when she went back, instead of help, there was more bullying.
Lall remembers one student in particular.
“He made a comment saying, ‘I don’t get why you get out of bed anyway,'” she said. “And it just kind of broke me.”
Lall has lost count of the number of suicide attempts, but she knows it’s definitely more than six times.
She wasn’t surprised by a national survey by Kids Help Phone which revealed one in five teenagers has seriously considered suicide in the last year.
Almost half of those teens had gone as far as forming a plan as to where and how they would do it.
Lall said teens are under a lot of pressure, and don’t always have someone to talk to.
The survey also found if kids do confide in someone it is usually their friends, not parents.
The psychologist who helped Lall through her recovery at Ontario Shores Centre for Mental Health Sciences said it is important for adults to open up the lines of communication before kids hit the crisis point, so that they already know they have someone they can talk to.
Dr. Nadia D’luso said hard topics, such as self harm, should be part of the discussion.
“There is a myth that if we talk about it, if we say scary words like suicide we are going to plant the idea and that’s a big myth,” said D’luso, a clinical psychologist at the Adolescent Inpatient Unit.
She pointed to Lall as a shining example of what can be accomplished with proper care, adding she feels like a proud mom.
“I can’t put it into words,” D’luso said. “I sometimes feel like Chelsea and I were in the trenches together, if that makes sense, and it’s amazing to see how far she’s come.”
Lall wants other teens to know they need to ask for help if they are struggling, and most importantly, she said they need to know there is always hope.
She is in Grade 12 with plans to go to university next year.
“I have an abundance of friends. I have people that actually care about me. I have strong relations with my family,” she said.
“Everything is amazing. I have an amazing boyfriend, everything is going my way. I have control of my life, my mental illness doesn’t.”