Smith Alley, teenager and founder of Live Life Bigger — a nonprofit organization that helps to strengthen kids' mental health — broke down in tears yesterday when he learned that another person in his hometown had committed suicide.
"We just lost another kid at my high school," said Smith, a high school senior in Bountiful, Utah. "This is the plague of today's generation: suicide."
"But it sucks for me. It sucks for me because no matter how hard I try, no matter the amount of speaking engagements that I get, the amount of youth that I work with one on one, it doesn't matter because I'm never going to have the reach to do it all and it sucks," he said, while tearing up in a car. "It sucks to lose someone in my hometown at my high school because it's just so close."
Smith emphasized the importance of people making sure that they were there for their loved ones.
"You have to decide now. You have to decide today that this is the most important thing to you," he said. "You have to cut the bullcrap. Nothing else matters, just this does, nothing else. You have to decide that the people in your life matter enough to you to do the work that keeps them there, to show people that they're enough, that they're loved and that they're worthy."
"This is what we have to do," Alley continued. "This is the fight that we have to fight. You have to start now and don't wait for tragedy to strike. Don't wait to get hurt before you start now. You are loved and you are worthy and you deserve to be on this Earth no matter what anyone or anything makes you think. You deserve that."
Alley founded Live Life Bigger after he once decided to commit suicide himself.
“I draw my motivation to spread light from my many years spent in the dark," he wrote on the organization's website.
Smith wrote that he had a hard time feeling like he was "enough" after he got bullied in elementary school for his size and speech impediment. He said that it was exacerbated by time on social media and online, where he "became a victim of ... self-hate."
Smith said that he created a suicide plan and stopped spending time with his loved ones. However, his parents found out and prevented him from carrying out his plan.
Now, he speaks at different schools and youth groups about how important it is for kids to focus on their mental health.
On his Instagram Stories, Smith revealed why he got so emotional in his video after he heard about his classmate's death.
"This is the third person in our school district this year to lose their life," he said.
"Today's struck home because it was in my hometown. It was in Bountiful and that hurt me more than others."
Although people have reached out to him to share their condolences, Smith said that he would prefer it if everyone would instead use their energy to show their loved ones how much they care about them.
"The purpose of the video that I posted is to bring the attention to the fact that you have people in your life, that there are people who are important and they need your attention. They need you right now. So instead of spending that time messaging me, go and hug them and love them."
If you or someone you know is at risk of suicide please call the U.S. National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-8255, text TALK to 741741 or go to SpeakingOfSuicide.com/resources for additional resources.