Warning: This post is about teen suicide, and may be distressing for some readers.
A heartbroken mother in the UK says she had “no idea” her daughter was struggling before the 16-year-old girl took her own life in early June.
The mother-of-three is now doing what she can to help other teens who might be in need.
Maisie Cousin-Stirk, 16, from Misterton, Nottinghamshire, died by suicide on June 19 shortly after sitting her General Certificate of Secondary Education exams.
She had decided not to attend the school leavers’ assembly that day and her mother, Helen Cousin, 46, became concerned when Maisie wasn’t answering her phone.
“I never thought she would do this. We were very close and she was always by my side. I really thought she could talk to me about anything,” Helen told Daily Mail.
Though no suicide note was left, Maisie’s sister, 27-year-old Amy Cousin, found a handwritten sign in the teen’s bedroom shortly after her death. The words read ‘I’m fine’, but when turned upside down they transformed into ‘help me’.
Helen is hoping to “help other teenagers speak to someone before it’s too late” and has turned Maisie’s ‘help me’ design into badges for charity.
“Maisie was a fantastic daughter. She was doing well at school. She didn’t have loads of friends, but I think she wanted it that way and she had a few very close friends,” Helen said.
“I know they had fallings out and there were stresses and worries but I thought those were just normal teenage things.”
Helen told the Daily Mail the family were planning a trip to Crete, in Greece, this summer. And that Maisie, along with her younger brother and older sister, were excited about going away.
“We had such a lovely day on the Saturday before she died. The sun was shining and we went to the optician to get Maisie her first pair of prescription sunglasses [for the trip],” she said.
“I had no idea that Maisie was feeling so bad that she felt she had to do this. I don’t know why and I don’t think I ever will.”
There was an outpouring of support for the family after Maisie’s death, with a crowdfunding page raising about AU$7500
If you, or a young person you know, is struggling with symptoms of mental illness please contact your local headspace centre or chat to them online here. If you are over the age of 25, please contact your local GP for a Mental Health Assessment Plan or call Lifeline Australia on 13 11 14.
Feature image via Facebook/Helen Cousin.
LISTEN: Is 13 Reasons Why Helpful or Dangerous?