After enduring a year of cruel and relentless bullying, Noah Brocklebank saw suicide as his only escape. That was until thousands of hopeful letters poured in from complete strangers.
When Noah felt he could no longer take the vicious name calling and feeling like an outcast, the seventh grader posted an alarming photo to Instagram in January of his arm, filled with self-inflicted cuts, accompanied by a note outlining his plans to kill himself on his 13th birthday, CBS reported. His concerned parents admitted him to the hospital, but the Maryland boy’s mom, Karen, decided to also try an additional course of treatment.
She launched the website “Letters for Noah” and called on complete strangers to write uplifting notes to her struggling son.
“Bullied, depressed, and unsure what else to do, Noah planned to end his life on his 13th birthday,” Karen wrote on the website. “He is getting help, but we would like to shower him with letters of encouragement as he makes his journey to recovery.”
Karen had hoped for a few missives, but was quickly inundated with thousands. Noah stayed in the hospital for eight days, according to CBS, and when his birthday came around in February, he had already received 2,000, the Baltimore Sun reported.
Noah has also garnered support on his Facebook page, which has more than 15,000 supporters.
One inspired supporter wrote on his wall: "Keep going Noah. If I can survive, so can you!"
While some mental health experts have noted that there are risks involved in exposing Noah’s mental health issues to the public, his mom told the Sun that she felt helpless after repeatedly asking her son’s school to intervene and also wants to use social media as a tool to empower kids battling depression and anxiety, instead of just a weapon to perpetuate bullying.
As Noah continues his recovery, and sifting through the letters that keep pouring in, he feels confident now that there is a place where he belongs in this world.
“I was focused on like, the bad side of the people, like the bullies,” he told CBS. “Then I realized, that there are caring people out there that could be my friends.”
Need help? In the U.S., call 1-800-273-8255 for the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline.