Content warning: This post contains themes of mental illness that some readers may find triggering.
“My name’s Brian. I’m 12 years old. I’ve been bullied all my life and I want this to stop.”
These are the words of a young boy who doesn’t know what it’s like to go to school and not be picked on.
It started in grade three – first kids made fun of his red hair, then there were names. Then came physical fights, and from there it got worse and worse.
Brian’s been to seven different schools in his seven years of schooling. Four of which he had to leave because the bullying was so relentless.
On his final day of school last year, Brian found himself surrounded by six boys who went on to brutally bash him for what Brian estimates was three minutes.
Following that day, Brian sadly made an attempt on his own life. Twice.
In a special story by Lisa Wilkinson for The Project, Brian’s mum Patrina says she was forced to pull her son out of school entirely to keep him safe. He should be starting year eight this year. Post continues after video.
“[Brian trying to take his own life] will always be in the back of my mind now. From the minute I open my eyes to the minute I go to sleep. I’ll always worry,” she said.
“I don’t think I could give the kids a message, I could give their parents a message and say, come and have a listen to the path that we’ve walked and if you’ve got an empathy or sympathy, make sure that your children don’t create that path for somebody else to walk.”
Brian said he now spends his days playing video games, watching YouTube, and that’s it. But he’d rather do that than go back to the school where he was tormented. But Patrina knows keeping him isolated away from school isn’t the answer. She’s at a loss for how to get her son a decent education, safely.
“He can have his private therapy sessions and we can have mental health support services and he can have medication, but at the end of the day, for him to survive and have a fulfilling life, he needs to go to school.
“There’s nowhere for us to go, as a parent there’s nowhere. You’ve got to sit back and watch your kid try and hurt himself because you can’t find him the help, where do you go?”
Bec Sparrow talks to Holly, Mia and Jessie on Mamamia Out Loud about the dangers of cyber bullying and what we can do to stop it below.
After watching Brian’s suffering, his older brother Murray wrote a Facebook post pleading for the bullying to stop that was shared more than 90,000 times. Last month, he quit his job to focus on his campaign to stop bullying for good, Fight The Good Fight Against Bullying.
With one in four Australian students between year four and nine saying they frequently experience bullying both at school and online, Brian said more lives will be lost if we continue on like this.
“It’s just going to build up, build up, build up until someone stops it, or it gets to the point where… what I tried to do starts to happen.”
If you or someone you know is experiencing depression or struggling with their mental health, call Lifeline on 13 11 14, Beyond Blue on 1800 224 636 or Kids Helpline on 1800 55 1800. If you are in immediate danger or at risk of self harm, call 000.
To watch The Project’s full story, visit their Facebook page.