Tired of persistent cyberbullying, a seventh-grader turned to Instagram to announce his planned suicide, prompting thousands of strangers to send notes of support and encouragement.
On January 26, Noah Brocklebank posted a photo of his cut arm on Instagram with the message, “Day of scheduled suicide, February 8th, 2013, my birthday.”
“I just felt like everything was worthless,” Noah later told CBS News. “My life was terrible. I had no one.”
Alarmed by her son’s post, Karen Brocklebank took Noah to the doctor where he was hospitalized for depression and anxiety. While there, she decided to start a Facebook page to ask for people’s help and support.
“Noah needs to know that he matters and that it does get better. So many people have been asking me how they can help. Well, this is how,” she wrote on the page, requesting for letters of encouragement for Noah.
“Noah has been dealing with bullying for the past year,” Karen also added. “He has been feeling alone and left out, ostracized from old friends and a misfit among new kids. Things begin to get better, and then another setback. He was once the life of the party among his friends; big man on campus at his first elementary school. Now his self esteem has disappeared.”
After starting the page, she opened a PO Box with the expectation that they will get a few letters for Noah. Instead, within the month, Noah received thousands of letters of encouragement from all across the globe.
“It has restored my faith in humanity,” Karen later told CBS.
“I was focused on the bad side of the people, like the bullies,” Noah added. “Then I realized there are caring people out there that can be my friends.”
The family later launched a website called LettersForNoah.com which continues to receive countless of messages for support for Noah and victims of cyberbullying.
“Cyberbullying is not something you can just turn off,” Karen explained. “It is another far-reaching tool in the bully’s arsenal.”