This Week's Teen Flaunt: Jack Lost His Uncle to Mental Illness

Jack Landis Photo (1)With the tragic loss of Robin Williams earlier this month, mental health issues like depression and suicide have been pushed into the spotlight. This week's Teen Flaunt ties into those very same topics, as 17-year-old Jack Landis reflects on the loss of his Uncle Matt. It wasn't until his uncle's suicide that he was faced with the realization that life can be short, and that it's best to cherish it while we can.

Jack discusses how no two people are exactly the same, writing, "Our past,  present, and what we strive for or have to manage is unquestionably unique. Our past has a critical impact on everything that we do, every important decision we make in our life, whether positive or otherwise." It is because of his uncle's death that he views the world a new way now.

At first he worried whether others would judge him or his family because of the way his uncle died, but he quickly realized that the most important thing is to be there for his family and show his support. Making the most of his time with loved ones is something he really values these days.

Reflecting on the experience, he says,

What happened to Uncle Matt changed me.  Somebody who I had loved, who had been a part of my life, was gone forever, and he could never come back. It really helps me to cherish what I have right now, to never forget how truly lucky I am to have all the people in my life. To know that one day they will all be gone, and I will too, but that is not a reason to be sad. It is all the more reason to live everyday by loving the people around you.

UntitledTo read the rest of his inspiring essay head over to the Teen Flaunt site. For more about dealing with grief and loss, check out "The Secret World of Grief" story from Choices magazine's March 2014 issue.

Here are some more past Teen Flaunts:

If you would like to have your teenager or student (age 13-18) write a “Teen Flaunt” that could potentially be published on the Teen Flaunt page, please submit the proposed essay (no longer than 700 words) to:


P.S. Did you know there’s a health and well-being magazine for teens that features inspiring stories every month? Learn more about Choices here, and check out our past pieces about Ashlyn, who feels no pain, and Georgia, who was born deaf.