The following was submitted by Wendy Sefcik. If you have something you'd like to announce to the community, upload it here.
On Sept. 22, family and friends of T.J. Sefcik gathered in Belmar, NJ, to walk in the American Foundation For Suicide Prevention "Out of the Darkness" Community Walk. T.J. died by suicide on December 1, 2010. He was a 16-year-old sophomore in Montville Township High School at the time of his death and would have turned 18 on September 23, 2012 the day after the walk.
T.J. was sensitive, out-going, intelligent and enjoyed playing hockey and lacrosse, but his true passion was surfing. Sadly, T.J. suffered from depression. No one understood how deep his pain went. He did a good job at masking his torment. Adolescent depression often goes undiagnosed in teenagers as the behaviors associated with it often mimic typical teenage behavior.
T.J.'s family and friends gathered to walk in the hopes of raising awareness of the issue of suicide and how many lives are shattered each year by suicide. In 2010 there were 38,364 reported suicide deaths in the US.
Saturday was a beautiful, sunny, mild day to walk on the boardwalk in Belmar with the ocean and beach as the back-drop. The Sefciks felt this was a wonderful way to honor their son while doing something to raise awareness of suicide and to raise funds that will hopefully go toward prevention of future suicides. T.J. loved the beach so the venue was a perfect choice.
There are a lot of kids struggling with a variety of mood disorders. Fortunately, most will not die by suicide, but they still need to be helped. More needs to be done to raise the issue of mood disorders in children and teens. Until the death of their son, the Sefciks thought the only teenagers who died by suicide were those who had been victims of bullying as that is what is often covered in the news. Sadly, like T.J., many teens who die by suicide are not victims of bullying, but of their own minds.
The Sefciks run a support group for parents of struggling teens and are open to speaking to anyone who has questions or concerns. They can be reached by emailing Wendy Sefcik at firstname.lastname@example.org.