Experts weigh in on issue of bullying after teen commits suicide

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Experts weigh in on issue of bullying after teen commits suicide (Image 1)

COVINGTON (WSLS 10) - The story of a mother's heart break after her daughter committed suicide has sparked a conversation on social media and raised questions about what all parents need to know and teach their children.

Ginny Nally knew her 15-year-old daughter, Abby, fought depression, but didn't realize until after her death she had put a video together about being bullied at school.

"She always had a smile.  We didn't know," Ginny explained. 

Robyn Wiley is a Clinical Licensed Professional Counselor for Blue Ridge Behavioral Healthcare.

"It is hard to tell and you want to think that you're on top of things, but kids aren't going to readily admit, run home, and say, ‘mom guess who made fun of my hair today or guess who said this about our family'," Wiley explained.

Wiley says Ginny's situation unfortunately isn't all that uncommon.

Bullied teen commits suicide leaving family questioning warning signs She says deciphering between normal teenage behavior and suicide warnings is one of the most difficult issues parents face.

Wiley says classmates almost always know who's being bullied.

"Children will help other children, will tell or tattle if they think it's something it will hurt their friend, so that's what we wanted them to do," Wiley said. "Speak out.  It's always better to be safe than sorry."

Lynn McDowell, BRBH Director of Prevention Services, says not speaking out could be a matter of life or death.

"There is a relationship between bullying and suicide," McDowell said.    

For Ginny she says had she known about the bullying as a mom she could have done more, but instead she did the unimaginable for a parent say goodbye to a child.

"People don't realize how far bullying goes." 

BRBH experts give a few symptoms to watch out for.

Stress Symptoms in Teens:

-lost interest in usual activities/interests

-changes in sleeping and/or eating (increase or decrease)

-wants to be alone all of the time

-physical symptoms (headaches and stomachaches)

Symptoms of Depression:

-frequent sadness, tearfulness, crying

-increased irritability, anger, hostility

-talk of running away

For more about the services offered by Blue Ridge Behavioral Healthcare and Mental Health America of Roanoke, visit their website at

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