A mother whose 14-year-old daughter took her own life last month is calling for a self-care programme to be introduced in primary and secondary schools nationwide.
Elisha Gault’s body was recovered from the River Suir on March 25, near her home in Carrick-on-Suir, Co Tipperary after she was last seen on St Patrick’s Day.
Her mother Grainne said she and her family were devastated and plan to fight to change the course of victim support services, Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS) and campaign to implement a self-care curriculum for primary and post-primary students.
“(We) want them to learn better-coping skills and develop a better empathy and conflict resolution strategy that we hope will help them through their schooling years but see them through their adult years and hopefully, in turn, reduce the number of suicides in Ireland, young and old, that we all have to live with today,” Grainne said on her Facebook page yesterday.
She said after Elisha had presented at St Joseph’s Hospital in Clonmel on May 31 last year, after an incident resulting from cyberbullying, the hospital staff were fantastic. The hospital ensured Elisha had an appointment with CAMHS the following day. But, on Facebook, Grainne yesterday said: “from this point, we were let down as a family”.
She described Elisha as a funny kid, always up to mischief and very friendly.
“All the neighbours knew her by name because she always had a smile and a bit of chat for everyone, young and old.”
She also said: “Myself and her father were extremely active in her life even though we split in 2010, we had a great co-parenting model and Elisha was very close to her father and adored him.”
However, she said after trying to understand why Elisha had been “acting out”, her daughter disclosed in 2012 that she had been sexually abused and had been one of five victims at the hands of the same person.
Ms Gault wrote:
“I have used the pain of the last month and have turned it towards seeking better for the nation because I do not want one other family to carry the cross we now bear.
“This will be the beginning of my fight for the nation, on several fronts and I hope everyone gets behind this one — because it will benefit each and every one of us and our future generations.”
She added: “This one is for you baby girl because you were so caring in nature and hated to see anybody hurting and even through your own plight you still tried to be a fun and friendly influence for those around you, who are missing you greatly. Love Mum, Dad, your sisters and all your extended family and friends.”
By Sarah Slater