Mackenzie Murphy knows about pain.
On Dec. 3, 2012, the 12-year-old from Airdrie, Alta. tried to take her own life because of rampant cyberbullying.
“I felt so hopeless and lost,” Murphy said. “I got to a point in my life where I knew it wasn’t going to be the end.”
After spending 30 days in a hospital recovering, the teen said she knew her life had to be turned around.
Now 17 years old, Murphy is using her personal experience as a means of connection to help other young people facing hardship.
“It was tough, but I finally got out of that situation and was able to become a mental health advocate,” she said.
“It took me hitting rock bottom to get to the point where I’m so happy in my life.”
She spent nine months meeting with the mayor and council in Airdrie to campaign for an anti-bullying bylaw, which is now in effect.
Murphy also talks to kids across Canada about suicide awareness, cyber bullying and building self-esteem.
Her work couldn’t be timelier—a recent study by Kids Help Phone has revealed one in five teens have seriously considered suicide in the last 12 months.
Nearly half of those with suicidal thoughts have formulated a plan.
“That stat doesn’t shock me because I lived it,” Murphy said. “It’s really sad.”
The Teens Talk 2016 report is based on the results of a national survey of 1,319 teens aged 13-18 and explores the issues such as suicide, body image, relationships and bullying.
The report found a primary indicator of whether a teen is experiencing an issue was if they searched the web or social media for related information.
Murphy said she’s gained perspective having survived her own struggles, an experience she now offers as advice to young people needing help.
“These problems are so small compared to the life you have to live,” she said. “You deserve to live that life.”
Murphy hopes to speak to schools in Saskatoon about bullying and suicide awareness sometime this fall.