On March 27th, in the Acton-Boxborough high school auditorium, comedian and mental health activist, Kevin Breel, brought a strong and hopeful message to the 900+ students, parents and faculty in attendance; you are not alone.

Kevin Breel at ABRHS

In a night filled with contrasts, starting with Breel's own moniker, the depressed comic, the issue of suicide was put front and center.  Breel told of his own conflicted life in high school; outwardly, he was the captain and star of the basketball team and life of the party but internally, he was a depressed and doubting loner.  Eventually, keeping up appearances would prove too much for him.  His solution was to commit suicide.  After writing his suicide note, something told him that he needed to give life one more chance; he needed to work on giving his true self a chance.  With that realization, he started to open up to his family, friends, coaches and teammates, letting them see this true identity.

Breel used his comedic talent to capture the crowd's attention while always returning to the seriousness of the sad epidemic of suicides in the world.  He spoke anecdotally about a suicide in his hometown in Canada and the profound effect that it had not only on the victim's family, her friends and the town, but, ironically, on him, because he had not even known her.  Every life is important was his message and we need to let all who are in our lives know that.

Similarly, in his casual, conversational style, Breel, with an eye to the kids, happened to mention that not everything on Facebook is real.  "People post their best moments and pictures", he cautioned and the reality could be much different, as was the case in his own life.  Breel encouraged kids to be aware of that reality and to connect with and talk to their true friends and family.

Breel ended the night fielding questions from the audience, laughing and reminding the parents that taking parental advice from a 20 year old with no children was probably not the best idea.  But the wisdom in his message to those struggling with depression or other mental health issues and their families was clear and valid...just know you're not alone; just know you're not alone. 

 

For a list of resources on Teen Depression and Suicide issues, please see our Get Help page