Author Cheron K. Griffin got fed up with the rising suicide rate and decided to write about it, in hopes to help someone who is at their breaking point and believes the only way out is to kill themselves. Thus, I SEE YOU: Igniting Hope & Preventing Suicide book was born. A movement by Grow A Girls Network Inc., her entrepreneurial brainchild, to delve into the lives of suicide victims’ families and dredge-up efficacious methods to keep suicide-oriented thoughts at bay.
Griffin’s antennas began to rise when she was constantly hearing about children who had committed suicide. In Cincinnati, Gabriel Tay, age 8, Alabama’s McKenzie Adams, age 9, Texas’ Kevin Reese, Jr., age 10, Alabama’s Nigel Shelby, age 15, faced homophobic bullying from his peers, Philadelphia’s Phillip Spruill, Jr., age 11 bullies targeted him because of his larger-than-average size, Colorado’s Ashawnty Davis, 10. All hung themselves. The reason…Bullying.
Griffin also saw the trend of celebrities’ suicides many high profile celebrities including Kate Spade, Anthony Bourdain, Robin Williams, Saoirse Kennedy Hill, to mention a few.
According to statistics, Suicide is on the rise in the United States and abroad. More children are committing suicide due to bullying and other ills of society. And adults are committing suicide due to the pressures of life such as finances, family pressure, workplace bullying, mental health and other reasons. I SEE YOU was created with emojis that we all can relate to. It’s for children, youth, those in the military, the LBGTQ community, the elderly, and everyday people. The moral of I SEE YOU is to reiterate to every reader is “I see you and you are loved.”
Cheron K. Griffin has propelled into existence her suicide prevention campaign “I See You”. This book was written for people whose depression has left them feeling unloved and hopeless. Throughout the text, the narrator tells the reader, “You are seen and loved.” Written with the help of emojis, the book provides comfort for people feeling lonely, different, or broken-hearted. When the struggles on the inside seem insurmountable, it is okay to seek out help from a therapist, loved one, or spiritual leader. The book ends with a warning that if their depression has left them in an emergency, it is important to call for help, the phone number for the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is provided along with a reminder to the reader that they are loved and seen.” For more information, visit https://www.amazon.com/SEE-YOU-Igniting-Preventing- Suicide/
Griffin has composed a song, entitled I See You Freedom.
Right On! Digital’s Cynthia Horner loved the idea of the book and had questions to ask Griffin.
A. In 2015, I did some brief substitute teaching, which I loved. I asked the children what their immediate concerns were, the concerns of our youth. They said suicide. I allowed them to share their experiences. There was not a dry eye in the room including mine. From that point on, I’ve been thinking, praying, and creating. The movie is written and being shopped; the music is out; the book is completed; and the campaign has launched. As you see, I’ve been very busy with the intentions of bringing suicide to the forefront of homes around the world.
A. This might not make sense to many; however, I know that using emojis was inspired by spirit (God / Universe / Higher Power). Using emojis is identifiable to everyone – children, teenagers and adults. Emojis also cross socio-economic status and race just like suicide. Emojis are an excellent idea because we can use them to describe how we feel – happy, sad, excited, etc. When you are a spiritual person, all sorts of interesting (crazy, too) ideas and thoughts come on a regular basis. “Will we act on those ideas is a more interesting question?” I do believe that because emojis are used, people will find more interest in the book and its uniqueness as well as the yellow glasses that we offer that represent JOY.
A. Personally, I don’t think that suicide is a trending topic yet. My intentions are to make it so – a dinner conversation piece even though it is a very dark topic as is mental health, especially in the Black community. We tend to believe that “Jesus will fix it” and he hasn’t. People need HELP – talk therapy, medication, or both.
I do believe that because more children are committing suicide, the media has taken notice especially in cases involving bullying. There are many more children who have died by suicide that get no media attention. There were over 1000 youth in HISD (Houston Independent School District) that committed suicide last school year alone. Who ever knew? There are many more we don’t know about; however, over 1M people commit suicide a year worldwide. It’s a pandemic.
I have noticed is that more and more Black children are committing suicide in record numbers. Black children between the ages of ages 8 – 12 are number one in that age demographic which was not heard of prior. As I began to shift my focus on the I SEE YOU Campaign, I also noticed that trending songs about suicide were becoming relevant and hits. I, too, wrote songs about suicide. I See You Freedom Chant is on all streaming sites. Suicide was then scripted in movies, love stories. I see suicide everywhere. And the more I talk about it; the more people share their personal experiences. They aren’t pretty.
A. I See You makes talking about such a dark topic more friendly; if that makes sense. The going theme is I SEE YOU and YOU ARE LOVED. So, to be more direct, it allows people to feel more comfortable in their sharing. The book creates dialogue. At the end of the book, I also offer a 21-Day Challenge to be kind to others. The book not only is designed to save lives, but to share LOVE and be compassionate – something we’ve lost in our society though it will return through the I See You Campaign (intended to be global as is the Red Nose Campaign that fights hunger worldwide).
A. I feel that bullying is on the rise – statistically speaking. I believe that children and parents aren’t being held accountable for their and their children’s actions. I also feel that we live in a society where bullying is acceptable and celebrated until something tragic happens like SUICIDE, a good ole’ fashion a– whoppin, or something worst. I think that our educational system needs to be more involved as well. Lawsuits are waiting to happen because of this topic – suicide. Bullying also creates mental health issues – depression, anxiety, anger, etc.