Mother speaks out against cyber-bullying after 16-year-old daughter takes own life

The mother of a 16-year-old girl who took her own life has spoken out against cyber-bullying and appealed for parents to educate themselves about the anonymous messaging apps that their children may be using.

Mandy Trowbridge, from Tyrone, spoke to The Irish News about the death of her daughter Elle Trowbridge, as she vowed to try to ensure that no other teenager falls victim to the dangers of online apps.

It is reported that Elle took her own life after suffering abuse online which had started when she was just 11. She was diagnosed with depression at 14.

Elle Trowbridge. Image: Facebook.

Mandy told The Irish News that anonymous apps like ask.fm "caused Elle a lot of distress".

Elle was also sent messages on BBM and SimSimi.

"One of them commented 'Cut yourself so deep that you bleed to death. If this doesn't work, drink bleach and if that still doesn't work, throw yourself off a bridge'," Mandy told The Irish News.

"Elle came in to me crying. She was totally distraught. I contacted police. They were very good. They took it very seriously. They explained it is non-traceable and get phone calls daily about them," she said.

Elle received counselling and her mother communicated with her counsellors and teachers to ensure Elle was safe.

Mandy also told The Irish News that the family attended counselling together.

"It was 100 per cent helpful. Elle spoke quite openly. She felt it had really helped her. Everyone was in a happy place and had an understanding of each other. She was so happy," she said.

In February Mandy told of how her daughter was in tears after being sent a message on SimSimi which read: "Elle Trowbridge should go and get hit by a bus."

In March Elle celebrated her 16th birthday. In April she took her own life.

"Elle could not understand how anybody could be so cruel to want somebody dead. It's very hard to reassure a child to think that this individual is a person and they don't actually realise what they are saying or doing," Mandy said.

Mandy is now calling on parents to take responsibility and educate themselves about the apps that their children are using.

She has adopted the slogan 'No More' for her campaign.

"Elle's heart is now my heart and my heart will beat on and I will put everything I have into this `No More'," she said.

If you or someone you know has been affected by suicide, or you just need to talk, PLEASE contact the Samaritans on the phone (116 123) by text (087 2609090) or online (www.samaritans.org). They are open 24 hours, 7 days a week.


 

By Claire Anderson

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