Mother of schoolgirl who took her own life wants society to ‘face reality’ of child suicide

The Jessica Collins Child Suicide Awareness Page logo. Photo: Lee-Anne Collins

The Jessica Collins Child Suicide Awareness Page logo. Photo: Lee-Anne Collins - Credit: Archant

The mother of a girl who took her own life says society must confront “the reality of child suicide”.

A Jessica Collins music award at Cliff Park Ormiston Academy - presented to someone different every

A Jessica Collins music award at Cliff Park Ormiston Academy - presented to someone different every year in rememberance of her talent. Photo: Lee-Anne Collins - Credit: Archant

Lee-Anne Collins lives in Hopton near Great Yarmouth with her husband and two children, but lost her daughter Jessica, 14, to suicide by overdose in 2016.

She said: “Everyone knows about suicide, but I’m specifically trying to raise awareness about child suicide.

“It’s not all about high-profile celebrities. I’m talking about regular children, aged as young as six.

“It happens far more than you think.”

Jessica was found unresponsive on her bed in July 2016. Norfolk coroner Yvonne Blake said the trigger for suicide involved a text message which Jessica feared had ended a friendship.

Mrs Collins said while her campaigning was “not just about her daughter”, the pain of losing her meant she still suffered from PTSD.

She said: “My daughter was so talented. She received a music scholarship from Cambridge University. She’d have been 18 now, and she’d have been a woman.

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“I never got to see that, but I want to help others whose own children might be at risk.

“You have to tell your children you are here for them.

“I’ve got two teenagers of my own - one of them is Jessica’s twin.

“You have to be so careful with them on social media, because in Jessica’s case it was Snapchat - where the message disappears forever once it’s sent off - which played a role in her death.

“Don’t just let your teenagers to go off into the void. Make sure you talk to them, let them know you’re there for them.”

Mrs Collins said that she didn’t go on Facebook for two years after her daughter’s death, but when she did, she found a network of bereavement groups.

She said: “I joined two groups which really got me through. They’re not as silly as people think they are.

“One was ‘Grieving Mothers of Children Lost to Suicide’ and another was ‘Suicide Grief Support for Parents’.

“I’ve set up my own page now too: ‘Jessica Collins Child Suicide Awareness Page’”.

She added: “These really help parents, and make sure our lost loved ones aren’t forgotten because they weren’t rich or famous.”

But according to Mrs Collins, is not just parents who have to face the realities of child suicide - it’s schools too.

She said: “Schools should be talking about this with pupils because you never know - that intervention could save someone’s life.”