My generation bleeds

This story was produced as part of a larger project led by Jessica Seaman, a participant in the 2019 National Fellowship.

Other stories in this series include:

The Denver Post launches project to investigate teen suicides in Colorado — and we need your help

Soup, sticky notes and other lies about suicide

Youth Voices on Suicide


By Allison Gould

Editor’s note: This poem was awarded an honorable mention in The Denver Post’s teen essay contest as part of an ongoing Crisis Point project on youth suicide in Colorado.

Mental illness
They mock
They laugh

But they have not seen
They have not heard
It is not just a quirk
It is not just a plea
We need more than attention

They blame the phones
The screens they made us slaves to
We scream and we cry

My generation bleeds

How many of my classmates must die
Before you hear our beyond desperate cries

If you want to lose your faith in people
Just watch the nightly news
Another mama’s boy
Gone, killed
Another daddy’s girl
Gone, raped

Our planet burns
Our minds scream

Ten hours of sleep for you teenagers
That’s what they say
But when it’s buried in schoolwork
When do I rest
Cause I’ve gotta study for the SAT test

Go to school
Change the world

But when the world is closing in
And reality’s collapsing fast
Where do you turn to
How long does the average panic attack last

We scream and we cry
We bleed and we die

You’re not smart enough
You’re not good enough
You’re not pretty enough
You’re not real enough
You’re not —

You’re not alive anymore
But you were such a good, sweet, smart kid!
Everyone loved you,
They lie

We scream and we cry
We bleed and we die

Our society is perfect
We have it so much better can’t you tell
Our minds are slaves and our souls are broken
And it’s the American dream to be more

More than what?
More than this
More than these illnesses that grip my generation
It’s wiping us out, all across the nation

This society is perfect
You want attention
You’re being moody
You used to be so happy

We had our life stolen from us
Before it ever really began
And if we don’t conform…
Well it’d be best off if we don’t try that again

A lifetime of pleasure
Won’t fill this hole inside
This is a disease and we must fight it

We are the future of this nation
And we deserve better
Than an impaired concentration
Since you cannot recognize
The darkness in our tear-stained eyes

We have been made servants to despair
And messengers of misery
When we were made to be vessels of positivity

A small smile
A warm embrace
An “I’m here for you”
And a “don’t you know how much I love you”

An act of kindness and a gesture of bravery
Is all it takes to break this cycle
Of vicious emotional poverty

I love you and you are more
More than your past
More than your now
Enough for the future

It doesn’t heal it
We need a cure
But at least we have this medication

We’ve gotta be the lights
On one another’s lives
Before another one of us dies.

Allison Gould is a sophomore from Parker’s Ponderosa High School.

Health reporter Jessica Seaman is investigating how Colorado’s mental health systems address youth suicide. To read more essay contest entries and learn more about our investigation, visit

[This article was originally published by the Denver Post.]