Bullying, depression causes Peoria teen to take her life, mom wants parents to look for warning signs

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PEORIA, Ill. (WMBD) — A young life was lost on Monday, Feb. 8.

Jennifer Raines said her daughter A’saiah Allen, 17, was one of the strongest people she has ever known. Now she is trying to channel that same strength.

She said A’saiah, one of her six kids, took her own life last Monday after being bullied and battling depression. Raines’s oldest daughter found her shortly after.

“I can’t think, I can’t eat, I can’t sleep,” Raines said.

She said trying to process her daughter’s death is nearly impossible while dealing with a broken heart and stuck in disbelief.

“I can’t console my other kids,” Raines said.

Raines said she’s always known A’saiah to be a fighter.

She said when A’saiah was 7-years-old she was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia. She said her daughter underwent chemotherapy for about six years and has been in remission ever since and even through that battle, she said her daughter’s spirit still sparkled.

“She was a free spirit,” Raines said. “She told me she was a unicorn and that’s all I relate my baby to.”

Raines said her daughter wasn’t the typical girly-girl and preferred the natural look. She said it contributed to rough experiences for her at Manual High School.

“When my baby was in high school, those kids mistreated her,” Raines said. “‘A’saiah was bullied, she was talked about. There were so many things that contributed to what she was going through.”

She said she even blames herself for missing the warning signs that something might have been wrong.

“There were also things going on at home that I’m sure promoted some of her depression,” Raines said. “I’m trying to accept my fault as her mother for where I went wrong and where I failed her.”

But she also wants to put an end to the vicious cycle of bullying.

“To these parents — teaching your kids to quit bullying these kids and quit talking about them because they don’t have what you have or their parents can’t provide what your parents provide,” Raines said. “Stop it.”

She said her daughter didn’t have insurance and those close to the family have created a GoFundMe page to help properly lay her to rest.

Raines said making sure her daughter can have a proper funeral is all she wants, and she is reminding parents that depression always starts at home and to be mindful of every subtle detail your child may be giving off.

“We have to pay more attention to our kids because stuff we think is small might be really really big to them,” Raines said.

Those with suicidal thoughts or emotional distress are encouraged to call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at (800)-273-8255.

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