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Ontario family hopes devastating loss will start conversation about mental illness

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WATCH ABOVE: The family of 15-year-old Abby Fedosoff is hoping that sharing their loss after she took her own life last year will lead to a conversation about mental health. As Angie Seth reports, her family says there were no signs she was in pain – Jun 7, 2016

Abby Fedosoff was a happy 15-year-old girl who loved her friends, was extremely close to her brother, loved going to school and had a real talent for art. But behind the smiles Abby was in pain.

“She was always one to give you a hug. She would say, ‘Mom you look pretty today,'” Jen Fedosoff, Abby’s mother, told Global News.

“She was always trying to make people feel better about themselves.”

READ MORE: Students walk out of classes after 5 youth suicides in Woodstock, Ont.

It was not until one early morning a year ago, when her parents realized their daughter had been suffering.

On that day Abby had quietly left her Etobicoke home and took her own life. Her family was devastated, shocked and confused.

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Fedosoff told Global News it wasn’t until she read her daughter’s journal that she really understand what she was going through.

“She did not think she was worthy enough or good enough,” she said.

READ MORE: How do you stop a youth suicide crisis from happening? Experts say it begins with education

The devastating loss of their daughter has prompted Abby’s parents to start the conversation with other parents and teens about suicide and mental illness.

The family is currently working with CAMH to raise awareness and to lobby more support in schools for teens who may be suffering.

“I didn’t think if you provided everything you needed for a child; love and caring and all of those things that it could possibly happen to a child — even a 15-year-old I thought was too young,” Fedosoff said.

“I hope we can keep talking about it, that we can talk to our young people about it and that we can get them help.”

To mark the one year anniversary of Abby’s death in May, the family joined CAMH in an annual walk called One Brave Night at her school Silverthorn Collegiate Institute.

Hundreds came out and the family plans on attending the walk each year.

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In addition, they have started a charity in their daughter’s name called the Abby Fedosoff Memorial Fund to raise money for mental illness as well as a Facebook page Remembering Abby in honour of her.

“It has been devastating. I hope nobody, no family has to lose a child,” Fedosoff said. “Especially this way. It has been extremely, extremely difficult.”

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