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A family has been left devastated after a 13-year-old girl took her own life after being subjected to months of bullying.
On the day of her death, Corrine Lee-Cheu behaved normally. She visited her grandmother’s house after school, spoke to her aunt on the phone and had tea with her family.
The Australian teen then went up to her room, where she took her own life.
“We are devastated. Completely lost,” Corrine’s grandma Patricia Stewart told the Daily Mail.
“That afternoon, she gave me a kiss and cuddle and offered to mow my lawn. There was no indication something was wrong. Now, we just keep asking ‘why’?”
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Corrine’s family were unaware of the torment she was going through. Whenever she was asked how she was she would insist she was fine.
Two months ago, the year eight student at Atherton State High School – which is in Atherton, Queensland – was beaten up by a group of children while she was walking through town. The incident was reported to police and her school but no action was taken.
The second of five children, Corrine belonged to the Kuku-Warra Indigenous people of Far North Queensland in Australia and was affectionately known as Kinny.
She loved spending time with her family, cooking, running around barefoot and driving tractors at the outback station owned by her grandparents in Kalpowar.
“She had a heart of gold,” Ms Stewart said.
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“Her and I just had a strong bond. A lot stronger than any other grandmother and granddaughter I know. We just connected.”
Now, Corrine’s family want to raise awareness about suicide prevention to try and stop other families from going through the same heartache.
They believe a lack of support services in the area and insufficient policies about addressing bullying in schools failed Corrine. They believe that the bulling she was suffering must have been severe for her to have turned to suicide.
Ms Stewart is urging parents to be persistent and push for their children to speak to someone if things don’t seem right.
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“If there was something wrong, she would normally talk to me, but she didn’t with this,” she said.
“Get your kid to talk to you. No matter how small it is. Push them to talk. We will not let her death go in vain.”
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If you need a response immediately, it’s best to call them on the phone. You can reach them by calling 116 123, by emailing [email protected] or by visiting www.samaritans.org.
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