“I just felt like everything was worthless,” said Noah. “My life was terrible. I had no one.”
Noah Brocklebank, a seventh-grader from Columbia, Maryland, made a desperate cry for help on January 26, a call that was answered by thousands of strangers from around the globe. As CBS News’ Steve Hartman reports, that night Noah, who had been a victim of bullying for quite some time, posted a picture on Instagram “of his arm all cut up and a note that read: ‘Day of scheduled suicide, February 8th, 2013, my birthday.'” Noah said he felt worthless, and he was sure that no one cared. His mother Karen explained that between the bullying and the underlying depression, “his self-esteem [had] disappeared.”
After that, Noah ended up in the hospital for eight days. And while he was in there, as his doctors assessed his mental health, his mother came up with a plan to improve his vision — a plan for Noah to see more clearly how much he matters, how much he’s loved, and that there really is life beyond seventh grade. So she asked some friends on Facebook to put all that in a letter. She was hoping for at least a couple responses.
What happened next is a remarkable testament to both the power of social media and the kindness of strangers.
Noah has received thousands of letters from every continent on the planet, including Antarctica. The sheer volume alone has brightened up his home a million watts.
Karen Brocklebank told Hartman that the overwhelming support from complete strangers from all over the world has restored her faith in humanity. The campaign for Noah was so successful in fact, that Karen started a website, LettersForNoah.com, so that more people can send him letters of strength and encouragement. She also testified before the House Judiciary Committee in support of the Cyberbullying Prevention Act.
And for Noah, receiving the letters from all over the world has changed his focus entirely. He said, “I was focused on the bad side of the people, like the bullies. Then I realized there are caring people out there that can be my friends.” Noah still has down days, but when the world starts to get to him, he reads the letters and is able to face the world again. He told Hartman, “Yeah, I’m not going to be done reading my letters ’til I’m like your age.”