After coming out at school six months ago, 15-year-old Austin Rodriguez (right) started experiencing intense bullying. He kept it to himself, but last Friday it became too much for the Ohio teen to bear, so he swallowed 100 prescription pills in an apparent suicide attempt.
The teenager’s mother [Bonnie] says it was shortly after coming out that her son, who is a straight-A student, began getting bullied at school.
She says at first her son appeared happy and relieved, and then she thought he may have been going through a depression and asked him about it several times, but he never really explained the extent of what he was going through.
Austin Rodriguez is now heavily sedated, and on a ventilator to help him breathe. His mother says her son swallowed more than 100 of his own prescription pills. She has now learned from his friends that the bullying became overwhelming.
Rodriguez says, “I actually didn’t know how bad it was for him in school until he actually did this. And until friends came out of the woodwork saying we knew Austin was going through this, we thought he was handling it a lot better. We didn’t know what to do.”
Doctors are optimistic that he will recover, but the next few days will be critical for Austin.
After hearing one of these news reports, it can be easy to dismiss the work of organizations like the Trevor Project and the “It Gets Better” campaign.
But, yes, while the gay media does pay due attention to each of these tragic suicides and suicides attempts, we have to remember that those suicide support lines are at least helping to make these cases less and less common. Let’s keep our chins up and pray for Austin’s recovery.