Boy’s heartbreaking suicide note
JACK was only eight years' old when he left a terrifying note on his teacher's desk.
His mum Kristy Sturgess doesn't really like to dwell on it, and his school kept the note that read, "God, please take me" anyway.
But that night the Sydney schoolboy also took a marker and wrote across his bedroom floor and pillow, "I don't want to be alive".
Even reflecting on that is too distressing for Ms Sturgess.
Jack was suffering from anxiety and being bullied at school because of it.
Photos from back then show scratch marks and bruises Jack received after being beaten by classmates and picked on because they called him "crazy".
To help overcome it, the now nine-year-old turned to drawing and art.
"I get really anxious when I'm scared and can't do anything about it and I find painting and drawing makes me concentrate on something else," he said.
"My drawings just come from my head and I start to think about the drawings I have already done and it makes me want to do more."
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Now Ms Sturgess, who is a clothing manufacturer, has helped him create a line of T-shirts featuring his drawings to raise money for Kids Helpline.
"Jack is just an everyday kid who loves tennis, soccer and Lego but he also has severe anxiety," Ms Sturgess said.
"His outlet has always been art therapy. Drawing helps him calm down and what he creates in those times of stress just blows me away."
Thousands of calls to Kids Helpline go unanswered every year and the majority of calls are now about mental health issues.
More than a quarter of calls in 2017 were from a young person aged five to 25 asking for help with mental health issues, many of them reporting concerns about anxiety and depression.
"We hear so many terrible stories about young Australians taking their own lives and anxiety and depression among kids is really a growing epidemic," Ms Sturgess said.
"I felt there was a way to raise awareness about childhood anxiety disorders that also raises much needed funding for services like Kids Helpline."
Kids Helpline chief executive Tracy Adams said on average they dealt with about 800 calls or online requests for help every day.
"While we do our very best with the resources we have, more than 186,000 calls and requests for help went unanswered in 2018, so every fundraising dollar we can secure is gratefully received," she said.
If this story has raised issues of concern for you or someone you know, call Lifeline on 13 11 14 or visit lifeline.org.au