Watch above: Carol Todd joins ‘Unfiltered’ to discuss how her daughter Amanda’s legacy will be seen around the world on World Mental Health Day.
TORONTO – It’s been one year since 15-year-old Amanda Todd took her own life.
The Grade 10 student from Port Coquitlam, B.C., committed suicide last October shortly after posting a video detailing the years of cyberbullying she experienced at school and on the Internet.
Thursday also marks World Mental Health Day where hundreds of international organizations hope to raise global mental health awareness, education and advocacy.
In cities around the world, buildings are expected to light up in purple to raise awareness.
Amanda Todd’s mother speaks out
In an interview with the Global News show Unfiltered Wednesday, Carol Todd, Amanda’s mother, said she’s pleased with the discussions that have started around anti-bullying measures since her daughter’s death, but says more resources and funding needs to be put into mental health resources. (You can watch the video with Carol Todd above).
“Ultimately those are the reasons why we lose adults and youth to mental health,” said Carol. “We need to take care of them.”
Carol said that the video Amanda posted was her daughter’s way of telling her story so that no other child or youth would feel the way that she felt.
“People often say to me ‘I am so sorry that was her suicide letter,’ but it’s not,” she said. “She was starting to become a survivor and I think that if she had overcome whatever happened to her in those few days, she would be sitting here being an advocate too.”
Todd’s death and the suicide of other teens since then have ignited a call for stronger action against bullying and cyberbullying across Canada.
In an interview with The Canadian Press, Carol said over the past year she’s realized that confronting the issues of teen bullying and suicide goes beyond laws, websites and school programs.
The issue requires constant vigilance by authorities, teachers, parents and young people themselves.
Todd said collecting data on teen suicide, bullying and cyberbullying represents only one piece of the complex puzzle to ultimately prevent young people from harassing their peers to the point where they give up and take their own lives.
“I want to make a difference, I want to make a change,” said Carol to Global News.
We take a look at some of the anti-bullying programs and measures have been put in place across Canada since Amanda Todd’s death:
Anti-bullying bills and laws implemented:
On Thursday, Manitoba’s controversial anti-bullying Bill 18 was proclaimed as law.
The bill requires schools to accommodate gay-straight alliances and was heavily debated in parliament. .
The anti-bullying law has been debated heavily. Some say it infringes on freedom of religion because it requires schools to allow gay-straight alliance groups, and others say the wording in the bill is too broad.
Introduced in April, the Nova Scotia’s Cyber-Safety Act includes the creation of an investigative unit dedicated to pursuing and penalizing so-called cyberbullies and makes parents liable for their child’s bullying.
Federal Justice Minister Peter MacKay has said he still hasn’t implemented a national cyberbullying legislation but says it’s coming.”
It’s the first-in-Canada law that allows Nova Scotia cyberbullying victims to sue and seek protection.
Facebook creates Canada-wide anti-bullying campaign:
In November 2012, Facebook officially launched a new national awareness campaign for bullying prevention in Canada.
The “Be Bold, Stop Bullying Canada” was launched during national Bullying Awareness Week and features an interactive app where adults and children alike pledge to stand against bullying and can share their status to encourage friends and family to do the same. Read how Facebook is pushing for online tools in detail here.
National campaigns against bullying launched:
On October 3, the Partners for Mental Health and the former Mental Health Commission Board Chair Michael Kirby, launched the Right By You campaign in hopes of drawing “attention to the fact that Canada is failing to meet the mental health needs of our children and youth with devastating consequences like youth suicide.”
The campaign says that by Canadians lending their voice, action can be taken to secure greater funding for children and youth mental health services, treatment and support.
The Canadian Red Cross provides information to educators and teachers to help them address violence and bullying at school.
In September 2012, the organization asked a group of youth to share their personal stories.
B.C.’s ERASE Bullying (Expect Respect and A Safe Education) was introduced in June, 2012 and allows students to report bulling anonymously. It is a comprehensive prevention and intervention strategy that hopes to make B.C. a leader in addressing bullying and harmful behaviours.