Elisha Gault's mother slams social media for putting pressure on teenagers

Elisha Gault's mother slams social media for putting pressure on teenagers

By Sarah Slater

The heartbroken mother of Elisha Gault who died last month has revealed she will be taking part in a suicide awareness walk in memory of her daughter.

The 14-year-old's body was recovered from the River Suir on March 25, near her home of Carrick-on-Suir, Co Tipperary after she went missing eight days previously.

The body of the missing teenager was found about 8km from where she was last seen.

Elisha Gault's mother slams social media for putting pressure on teenagers

The search and rescue Coast Guard helicopter was on its way back to Waterford Airport from a routine operation but crew members saw a body floating in the water near Fiddown bridge.

Writing on Facebook, Grainne Gault posted that she also believes that teenagers are “under immense pressure to fit in due to social media.”

Suicide prevention and mental health awareness group Pieta House will be holding the annual, Darkness into Light walk on May 12.

She said: “I'm walking in memory of Elisha Gault. Now more than ever, teenagers and younger kids especially are under immense pressure to fit in.”

Ms Gault pointed out that teenagers live their lives through social media and said: “How many friends on social media? These are goals for acceptance. Apps that started out to be portals for sociability are becoming the opposite for some.

“It's easier to attack and bully someone when you are not face-to-face and can't see the damage you are causing another human being.

“Because the goal for that person is to vent their emotions, this is destructive, we need to teach a more constructive way for conflict resolution, which includes all ages. Just because our emotional state may be justified, our reaction isn't always justified."

Elisha’s mother added: “Sticks and stones will break our bones but names will never hurt us.This was something we were told growing up if anybody ever said anything mean to us.

“Words can be very damaging, those that cut the deepest are ones said by those closest to us. How we treat each other has got to change, we need to take more responsibility with how we express our emotions to each other, such as anger, jealousy, frustration etc.

“What is said and done in quick response to an emotionally heightened situation can have detrimental effects and unfortunately in some cases a deadly outcome.”

She said another reason she is taking part in the walk is to fight back against bullying and to highlight "failings within the mental health system."

She said: "I am highlighting the failings within the mental health system and I will be highlighting how bullying can affect another human being, because you are not guaranteed the person you are directing your words at, isn't already vulnerable and at the edge but in addition, bullying isn't just about strangers attacking you, it can be those closest to you and we need to learn a better way and focus on solutions rather than focusing on the problem.

"We all know these issues exist but because we are heavily weighed down by own experiences we haven't been able to fight back - well now I am in the wake of Elisha Gault's death."

She concluded by saying: "We all deserve better!!"

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