Mother’s anguish at losing 13-year-old to suicide

THE day before 13-year-old Chloe Walklate took her life, she was riding her horse and laughing with a friend on the phone.

Nobody could have guessed the pain the Logan Village teenager was hiding when she chose to skip school and end her life.

Nineteen months on, her family still don't know why.

Chloe Walklate took her life in September 2017.
Chloe Walklate took her life in September 2017.

"There was no letter," Chloe's mum Samantha Walklate said.

"We still search for answers as to why, and ask ourselves what we could have done."

Mrs Walklate said while they knew Chloe was unhappy at school, their "cheeky" animal-loving girl gave few signs that she was struggling.

"She hid it a lot by making everybody else laugh. She was just a big goof, she used to draw things on her face, play tricks on people," she said.

"It never crossed my mind that she would go to those lengths."

Logan mother Sam Walklate with her son Blake, husband Kyle and portrait of Chloe. Picture: Renae Droop
Logan mother Sam Walklate with her son Blake, husband Kyle and portrait of Chloe. Picture: Renae Droop

Since Chloe's death in September 2017, Mrs Walklate said the family had been held together by the support of friends, family and the community.

She is now speaking out to encourage other young people to seek help, or at least to talk to someone.

On May 18, Mrs Walklate with her husband Kyle and colleague are taking part in Tough Mudder to raise funds for Beyond Blue and awareness about youth suicide.

"I just want the kids to know they are loved and wanted," she said.

"It doesn't matter how bad things get or what they think they've done wrong, it's not as bad as what they think."

Sam Walklate will complete the Tough Mudder course with colleague Judie Rogusz and her husband Kyle. Picture: Renae Droop
Sam Walklate will complete the Tough Mudder course with colleague Judie Rogusz and her husband Kyle. Picture: Renae Droop

A 2018 report by the Queensland Family and Child Commission showed suicide was the leading non-natural cause of death of children in 2016-2017.

It revealed that 112 Queensland youths aged under 18 took their own lives in the five years to June 2017 and bullying was flagged as a possible factor for 17 per cent of youth suicides.

The Walklates are yet to receive the Coroner's report into Chloe's death, but feel there is a lot of space for reform.

"I want so much changed. I want harsher penalties for bullying, I want teachers and parents to have the knowledge and tools to know when to act," Mrs Walklate said.

"I just want more help out there for those kids."

Sam Walklate is hoping to raise money for Beyond Blue. Picture: Renae Droop
Sam Walklate is hoping to raise money for Beyond Blue. Picture: Renae Droop

Mrs Walklate has started a Facebook group supporting other mothers who have lost children to suicide.

Her advice to them is what she hopes all parents do - go with their "gut instinct".

"We know our children," she said.

"If we think something's not right, put them first and do what you can to get them the help they need."

If you wish to donate to the Walklates, visit their team page.