Community raises awareness about bullying after teen’s death
October 21, 2014
HAVANA, Ill. — A community came together Tuesday night to celebrate the life of a 16-year-old girl and shine a light on the issues of bullying, depression and teen suicide.
Lindsey Heflers died Saturday after battling depression that her parents say stemmed from bullying.
was a junior at Roanoke-Benson High School, but spent her freshman and sophomore years at Havana High School.
Lindsey’s parents want to share her story with the hope that someone being bullied or battling depression will hear it and take another route. They say there needs to be more awareness, because right now those topics are just swept under the rug. “When it comes to bullying, it’s a simple comment. It’s a simple, you’re fat. Zero tolerance means zero tolerance,” said Linsey’s dad, Danny Helfers. “I know you are kids, but think before you say something. It’s more than just words. It lasts forever for us now, it’s the rest of our lives.” “She made people happy and laugh and kept everything she was hurting inside and she couldn’t deal with it anymore,” said Lindsey’s mom Linda Helers.
Experts at the Center for Prevention of Abuse in Peoria say more than 160,000 students don’t want to go to school each day because they are afraid of being bullied. The director of prevention services, Marcia Bolden says there are signs to watch out for if you think someone is being bullied. Those include being withdrawn, having a hard time focusing and not eating. Research shows that depression can be an outcome of bullying and experts say reporting it is key to stopping the cycle. “I want to speak to those bystanders, those individuals that are also generally present,” said Bolden. “Speak up, be a voice for that person that has experienced the bullying. You could save someone’s life.”
Visitation for Lindsey is Wednesday from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. Her funeral is Thursday at 10 a.m. Both are at the Preston-Hanley Funeral Homes and Crematory in Pekin.
If you suspect someone is being bullied or is battling depression you can get help by calling the Center for Prevention of Abuse at (309) 691-0551