A Nova Scotia mother is hoping to bring more attention to the devastating consequences of bullying after her six-year-old daughter attempted suicide last week.
The family has asked not to be identified.
“Parents need to teach their kids, even at a young age, that this could happen. It’s not just teenagers or adults that are doing it; it’s young kids, and it’s not right,” said the mother, who is in Halifax where the girl is being treated.
She said she was working while the girl was playing at a friend’s house when the attempt was made.
The other children alerted an adult when the incident happened and the mother said the girl told an adult: “Kids at school bully me and I just want to kill myself.”
After being seen by medical and mental health professionals, the mother said she learned about the history of bullying, which included physical attacks, by other children in her age range at school and outside.
WATCH: Ross Lord has the story of a six-year-old girl who tried to commit suicide because she was being bullied – and her mother’s words in the aftermath.
“She seems like her normal happy self every day,” the mother said. “She comes home, she plays with all her friends, and she just seems normal and happy.
“I had no idea any of this was going on inside her little head.”
The girl also told her mother that she’s made another attempt before.
“That’s one way I think of getting away from the bullies because heaven is kind of a happier place because there’s pretty much no bullies,” said the girl, adding she no longer thinks that way.
The mother said the girl is in better health and will continue to see mental health professionals. She also plans to call the school to deal with the bullying problems.
“Even if they may not know what suicide means, even as young as six, they understand somewhat of the concept of death,” said Lynne Robinson, a psychologist and associate professor of health promotion of Dalhousie University.
Suicide attempts by children at that age are “very rare,” but that doesn’t mean some don’t consider it.
She said it’s important for parents and educators to pay attention to children’s behaviour. If a child acts out or discusses wanting to self-harm, it needs to be taken seriously.