Jack Wilkinson, nine, has turned his anxiety into a range of t-shirts to help raise money for charity after horrific bullying left him wanting to take his own life
When Jack Wilkinson could no longer cope with relentless bullying and cruel taunts, he wrote a desperate note to his Year 2 teacher and left it on her desk.
‘God, please take me’, the seven-year-old penned in his neatest handwriting.
Just weeks before, he was beaten for 10 minutes by a classmate in the playground after long being a target of bullies.
His mother Kristy Sturgess told Daily Mail Australia that Jack was diagnosed with an anxiety disorder at a young age and had been struggling with ongoing taunts and cruelty.
While other children had previously told him he was ‘crazy’ and teased him, the bullying became physical and extremely violent when he began Year 2.
‘There’s always been kids who had decided Jack was an easy target because of his reactions,’ she said.
‘They would say things, call him names, tell him he was crazy.
Ms Sturgess said by the time Jack was six or seven, he was coming home from school in tears, begging not to go back.
The north-west Sydney mother said her son was tripped over by a bully on his first day of Year Two.
‘That was one of the first signs it was going to be an extremely tough year for Jack,’ she said.
In Year Two, Jack’s existing anxiety was worsened after he was physically attacked by another child, who had been bullying him
When Ms Sturgess picked him up, he had scratches on his body and a mark from where a plastic fork had been stuck into him on his shoulder (pictured)
The young boy was once ‘punched in the head’, until eventually the bullying culminated into a full-on attack.
‘Jack was physically hit and kicked in the playground for nearly 10 minutes, and was stabbed with a plastic fork in the back,’ Ms Sturgess explained.
Ms Sturgess said her other son, Jack’s twin Hunter, told her the beating had gone on for ten minutes before adults arrived to pull the boys apart.
‘I remember getting to pick Jack up [that day], and he was limping and holding his shoulder, in tears,’ she said.
‘He had bruises on his legs, and a fork mark in his shoulder. I just broke down in tears.
‘That was the final straw for Jack after going through such a hard few years.’
His mother, Kristy Sturgess (left) said at the age of seven, Jack wrote on his pillow he ‘didn’t want to be alive’, and wrote a note to his teacher saying ‘God, please take me’
Jack had always enjoyed drawing, and Ms Sturgess said she found art therapy was very helpful for her son (pictured centre with his brothers). They then decided to turn his drawings into a t-shirt line that raised money for Kid’s Helpline
Jack has been drawing for years and has found it helpful when he needs to take his mind off a problem
Ms Sturgess said Jack, who was aged just seven years old at the time, saw no hope for his future.
‘He was seven, and he was just done.’
At home, he wrote on his pillow in texta: ‘I don’t want to be alive’. When he returned to school a few weeks later, he left a note for his teacher.
‘God, just take me,’ it read.
Over the next few months, Ms Sturgess worked tirelessly to help her son regain the little confidence that had been completely destroyed by his ordeal.
The family sought support from external counsellors and programs, including art therapy, to help Jack cope with his anxiety and resolve the trauma from his bullying.
Jack said he felt better when he was able to talk to someone about his problems, and wanted to make sure other kids had the same opportunity
Jack had always loved to draw, and found it helped him cope when he felt overwhelmed or upset.
Ms Sturgess, who owns a clothing manufacturing business, sat down with her son and asked: ‘Would you like to do more with these drawings?’.
The pair decided to turn some of Jack’s favourite artworks into t-shirts, and
Ms Sturgess said supporting the children’s organisation, which offers counselling over the phone or online 24 hours a day, was a way to help people like her son.
She said she recognised not everyone had the same support Jack did, and some children needed a place to go where they could be anonymous and receive help.
‘You don’t expect [what happened to Jack] to happen, but these things are happening, and a lot of the targets are kids suffering from these disorders [like anxiety],’ she said.
‘What Kid’s Helpline offer, the support they offer, there are some kids who don’t have that.
‘It’s about letting people know mental health isn’t a taboo thing to talk about – it’s okay not to be okay and there are people you can speak to confidentially.’
His mother said Kid’s Helpline was a godsend to children who might not have as strong a family network as her son did, and needed extra support
For Jack, knowing he had someone to speak to during his ordeal, and as he continues to learn to manage his anxiety, has proven to be a huge comfort.
‘It makes me better when I talk to someone,’ he said in a statement on his website.
‘And when I know they’re doing something about the bad things, it makes me feel safe.
‘Now, I feel pretty good. But other people are going through the same things as I did and having a hard time. It would be nice for them to be able to talk to Kids Helpline.
‘It would be nice, they’d have a friend, and wouldn’t be as sad or scared.’
If you are aged 5 to 25, or a parent or carer, and need confidential 24-hour support, contact Kid’s Helpline on 1800 55 1800, or head to their
Profits from Jack’s t-shirts are donated to Kid’s Helpline, so they can continue to offer support to people aged 5-25 over the phone and online