A couple have opened up about their son who was driven to suicide due to bullies, in the hope to raise awareness of the impact of bullying.
Mark and Anita Abel, from Worcester, explained that their 14-year-old son Sam took his own life in January 2017 after being bullied online and in school.
According to The Sun, bullies hid Sam’s school books from him, bombarded him with messages on social media and called him a “snitch” when he went to a teacher.
Mrs Abel said she had no idea what her son was going through. Explaining what happened on ‘This Morning’ on Monday 26 June, she said: “I gave him a pound and I said: ‘Can you bring me a paper on your way back?’
“And he goes: ‘Yeah, I’ll be back by one’. And he didn’t come back.”
Anita explained that her daughter had called her brother when they had not heard from him, and a paramedic answered the phone.
“I was in bed at the time,” Anita said. “And I’ve never jumped out of bed as quick in all my life, because she just said: ’Mum, it’s a paramedic, I think he’s dead.”
Willoughby found it hard to hold back tears during the interview.
“What can we do as parents?” she said. “You get to the point where you’re not the only parents we’ve spoken to who have lost children under these circumstances and each and every one is wrong.”
The appearance sparked a conversation about the devastating effects of bullying by viewers on social media.
This Morning have their Be Kind campaign which aims to raise awareness of bullying among teenagers in an attempt to end it.
What should I do if I’m a parent and worried my child is being bullied?
Advising parents who may be worried after learning of Sam Abel’s story, Ged Flynn, chief executive of PAPYRUS, the national charity for preventing young suicide, told HuffPost UK: “Suicide can be the result of a combination of many different factors, bullying being one of them.
“If anyone - family, friends, teachers – suspect a young person is being bullied they need to act immediately and not be afraid to ask the question. Feeling bullied is likely to have impacted a young person’s self-esteem and they most likely will not voluntarily admit it.
“Schools should have an anti-bullying policy in place. Teachers need to be alert; be aware of indicators and not be afraid to ask if they suspect a child is being bullied and be prepared to take firm, appropriate action.
“Only too often we hear of another young person taking his or her own life. One more is one too many and we must all take responsibility. Everyone should be aware that suicide is the leading cause of death in young people, and for many, bullying can be part of their story.
“We should be vigilant in exploring suicidal ideation where bullying is present, if they are unsure our helpline advisors - HOPELineUK 0800 068 41 41 will guide them on how to start the conversation.”
For more information:
PAPYRUS HOPELineUKoffers confidential, short-term advice and support to young people experiencing thoughts of suicide, or to anyone with concerns about a young person with thoughts of suicide. 0800 068 4141.
YoungMinds Parents helpline offers free, confidential online and telephone support, including information and advice, to any adult worried about the emotional problems, behaviour or mental health of a child or young person up to the age of 25. 0808 802 5544.
‘This Morning’ is on weekdays from 10.30am on ITV.