Last Friday, 15-year-old Jamie Hubley, the son of Ottawa city councillor Allan Hubley and his wife Wendy Barber, took his own life. According to his final blog post, Hubley had hit rock bottom and decided that he couldn’t take it anymore.
Hubley looked happy from the outside, always smiling and giving everyone hugs. However, on the inside he was struggling with depression and the burden of the bullying that comes with being openly gay in high school. His recent blog posts document cutting his arms, images of bullying juxtaposed with the victims committing suicide, and quotes like “never underestimate how far someone will go to end the pain.” On his YouTube Channel, Jamie had posted videos of himself covering the songs of artists that he admired.
The Ottawa area has seen a shockingly high number of teen suicides in recent years. Last November, 14-year-old Daron Richardson, the daughter of a former NHL player committed suicide. Another six young people killed themselves in June of 2010 and two more that same September — the start and end of the school year are the times when teens are most at risk.
The Liberal Party of Canada has called for the creation of a national suicide prevention strategy. Their motion, tabled in Parliament in October, was supported by the ruling Conservative Party of Canada. Teen suicide in Canada is three times higher than it is in the United States and, as Liberal health critic Hedy Fry noted, “suicide disproportionately affects gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender youth, aboriginals and seniors.” Stephanie Richardson, the mother of Daron Richardson, supported the Liberal motion, saying:
We’d like to ensure the conversations about youth mental health and suicide happens at every dinner table, school, hockey arena and mall across our country.
There is a facebook page in Jamie’s memory where various activities are being planned in his memory, including selling bracelets at high schools across the city of Ottawa. One of Jamie’s friends made this video in his memory, celebrating “the sweetest guy I knew.”
Photo credit: Screen capture from one of Jamie Hubley's YouTube videos.