A Sunshine Coast mum has had her heart “completely broken” after her teenage son made a grim discovery while cleaning up a series of toys scattered around their house.
With her 10-year-old daughter Lily at school, Shellie Ross decided to take the chance to clean up around their Mt Coolum house, unaware of the “deeply concerning” note they were about to find scrawled on the year four student’s Nintendo DS.
“He came up to me straight away and said look, he was devastated for his sister,” Ms Ross told Yahoo7 News.
The handwritten message read: “Some of the time I’m really sad that I feel broken” finished with a picture of a broken heart.
“My heart just broke as a parent,” Ms Ross said, revealing Lily had been subjected to incessant bullying throughout her schooling, to the point where she was diagnosed with severe anxiety at just eight years old.
“She’s a year older than everyone else in her class and a bit taller, she is more mature than the kids in her grade, so people see her as being different because she doesn’t want to sit and play with barbies and talk about Fortnite.
“She has had her hair cut, sand thrown in her eyes, food thrown at her and her bag thrown in the toilet.”
On Wednesday night Ms Ross sat down with Lily, who after expressing her initial frustrations at her privacy being invaded, eventually opened up on just how bad the bullying had become.
“She let it out that she can’t take it anymore with the bullying… it’s horrifying to hear,” she said.
Ms Ross said she has approached the school on 13 occasions this year and the Education Department twice, but her pleas for assistance have ultimately gone unacknowledged.
With nowhere to turn, the devastated mum took to a Facebook community page on Wednesday to share her daughter’s note, pleading with other parents to talk to their children.
“As parents, let’s just sit and talk to our kids, just because you can’t see them crying doesn’t mean they’re not hurting on the inside,” she said.
“This is how we as young parents lose our children to suicide.”
Ms Ross’ warning to parents comes six months after Northern Territory teenager Dolly Everett took her own life after years of bullying at her Queensland private school.
The former face of Akubra hats was just 14 years old when she took her life on January 3.
Her parents, Tick and Kate Everett are now pushing Australian schools to adopt a national ‘blue heart’ rating system on bullying and cybersafety.
The grieving parents hope each school will one day have a blue heart rating – featuring the foundation’s logo of a blue heart, with a butterfly at its centre – reflecting the strength of prevention and response strategies.
The Everetts are in the final stages of setting up Dolly’s Dream as an official charity.
Yahoo7 News has contacted the Queensland Education Department.
Readers seeking support and information about suicide prevention can contact Lifeline on 13 11 14.
Suicide Call Back Service 1300 659 467.
Kids Helpline 1800 551 800.