I recently became aware of this project against bullying and had to share! Here is the video and the story behind it!
Published on Youtube Jun 23, 2013
In 2008, Mary Shakun’s daughter, Laura took her life. She was thirty-two years old and being treated for schizophrenia. Laura had been bullied in school and date-raped six months prior to her diagnosis at age twenty-one. In the eyes of the outside world, Laura had it all — beauty, talent, education, and a comfortable position in society – everything to guarantee a long, happy, and fulfilled life. But as Mary learned, over the years of caring for her daughter, the darkness, loneliness, and despair, whether due to mental illness or emotional trauma from bullying or abuse, is something that “takes a village” to combat and no one can win the battle, alone.
Bullying and suicide are on the increase globally. Some victims, even those into their thirties, don’t know how to respond and may not even realize they are being bullied. Technology and mass media, influencing young minds and shaping behavior, can be cited as a possible cause or trigger to exacerbate bullying and even suicide. Many people may not realize that there is also a link between being a bully and committing suicide. Even when loved ones are actively involved, it is impossible to ‘be there’ in every moment of need.
One morning Mary Shakun woke up with the thought, “Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we had an app, immediately available on young people’s ever-present mobile devices, which could help delay or defer suicidal thoughts, call for help, and ultimately prevent suicide?”
With the connection between bullying and suicide, we thought this app could be of benefit in bullying situations, as well. Because most young people have mobile devices, this app would “BE there for you” anytime and any place.
Awareness is the first step to change. Because of the epidemic of bullying and suicide, and because of the connections between these two issues, having a tool, an electronic/digital ‘friend’, readily available to both the ‘victims’ and those who care about them, could greatly increase the awareness about ways to combat these issues. Through Mary’s personal experience, she is in a position of having gathered wisdom, and knows first hand, many things that can help others experiencing bullying and the struggling with suicidal thoughts and feelings.
Getting this mobile App into exactly the right hands, is something we are passionate about; saving just one life would make a difference to us. Saving millions of lives would make a difference for many!
The ‘BE There For You App’ is targeted to people age ten to thirty, with a holistic approach to preventing these problems, including features for those in supporting roles, like parents, teachers, and friends. The ‘BE There For You’ mobile app has both the urgent-help features and the self-development features which implement a multi-media approach. Having this holistic approach guarantees that it would appeal to many different learning and behavior styles, and many different ages and stages of development. Features could be custom programmed by the individual so that the device really becomes a ‘friend’ when the user is in need.
We want to inspire the global community to think outside the box; to Spiral UP, where we honor our origin, and use it, no matter how dark, heartbreaking or scary, to make a difference in the world. We want to gather the community that will make the dream of the ‘BE There For You Bullying and Suicide Prevention App’ spiral into reality. Mary Shakun is passionate about Spiraling UP from her origins of psychosis, bullying, and suicide to making a difference for others struggling with the same. Saving just one life would make a difference to Mary. Saving millions of lives would make a difference for many!
Mary Shakun & Susan M. Davis, Co-Founders of The Journey To Absolute Freedom
Video for entry to Wisdom 2.0/1440 Foundation Award. The ‘BE There For You – Bullying & Suicide Prevention App’ is a 100% philanthropic project. Our thanks to Carol King, Singer/Songwriter for use of ‘You’ve Got A Friend’, 1971. No copyright infringement intended.