The bullying became so vile that the girl started harming herself. She "was told that the only way she would ever make her family proud is if she killed herself."
Trigger warning: Contains accounts of self-harm and suicide
Jay Patterson, the mother of late 12-year-old Charley Patterson, remembers her daughter as a funny, caring, bright, and remarkable girl who loved animals and wanted to be a zookeeper. But that sweet little girl is not with her family anymore. She passed away on October 1 after she took her own life.
You must be wondering why a child so young would take such a drastic step. Well, the child was suffering from mental health problems which, according to the family, were a result of the severe bullying that she was enduring in school with kids "ganging up on her," as reported by the Chronicle Live.
Now, Jay is determined to improve children's mental health services so that no other kid has to suffer the way her daughter did. Recalling her child's struggle she said, "Charley was struggling during lockdown, so the school said she could go back to class on a Monday and a Friday - but that just meant she was stuck in a bubble with people bullying her. I think the school could have done a lot more. Nobody was interested in helping Charley, or her friends who were also being bullied."
Charley first asked her GP for help in November in 2019 but she was put on a waiting list for an appointment with Child and Adult Mental Health Services (CAMHS) only in March 2020 after a hospital visit. Jay was warned that the appointment could take more than three years. Experiencing the trouble to get basic help first hand, the family has launched Charley's Law campaign that focuses on making immediate help for youngsters a legal requirement along with regular reviews to make sure that they're improving.
Giving details about the campaign, Jay said, "We've got four points we want to get across. First, that an initial assessment should happen within one month of the first time a child asks for help."
She continued, "Second, that within a month of that, a meeting takes place with all the professionals involved, doctors, teachers, social services, that they all have to attend."
"Then, there should be regular follow-ups with the child to make sure they are okay; and a meeting should be held regularly by all professionals to make sure they're doing everything they need to," she added. She further mentioned, "The help Charley asked for wasn't there and I don't want that to happen to anyone else."
Charley was found dead by her brother at her home in Cramlington, Northumberland, after she came back from school, reported BBC. Due to the intense bullying, she had started self-harming. On the day of the tragic incident, her father, Paul, performed CPR on the child but it was too late.
Jay revealed the hurtful things her daughter had been subjected to. She said, "The favorite phrase that they kept using for her was 'lesbo-emo freak.'" She added that Charley "was told that the only way she would ever make her family proud is if she killed herself."
Fondly remembering her daughter, she said that Charley had "the most infectious laugh, it was just contagious. When she smiled she had a proper, beaming smile, she was so gorgeous." She continued, "She would always come out with the craziest things...she could be sarcastic and she was really funny."
Calling her "remarkably special," Jay said that Charley used to be the first person to help anyone in need. Now, Jay is focused on "building Charley's legacy." "She would like the idea that she's helping other people," she said.
Jay is concentrating on the improvement of mental health support for youngsters who are enduring bullying in any way because she believes, "There is an anti-bullying week in schools every year, but it doesn't mean that bullying stops. What we need is for there to be the right support services for children if it happens," reported by The Mirror.
She also urged other parents to educate their children about the harms and dangers of bullying. Jay said, "Teach your kids, teach them that words aren't just words, words hurt. Don't use the excuse kids will be kids because it's not good enough."
Even though the police have confirmed that no criminal investigation is ongoing regarding the girl's death, the school, Cramlington Learning Village, said that they are working with multiple agencies to investigate the circumstances related to Charley's death.
Offering their condolences to the family, they said that they were "heartbroken" by the news of her death. The spokesperson continued, "Our thoughts and sympathies are with her family and friends, and the school is working closely with the family to provide support at this difficult time."
"We are offering support for our students and staff in school, who are devastated at this tragic event," the spokesperson added. You can donate to Charley's fundraiser at the GoFundMe page that has successfully raised $13936.57 (£10,681 at the time of publishing this article) out of the initial goal of $7828.80 (£6,000).