by Elyse Wurm
HORRIFYING bullying traumatised Warwick teenager Samantha Brodie to the point where she considered ending it all.
She suffered cracked ribs, was told to kill herself and even changed her phone number nine times in order to escape the torment.
But it was a rescue horse named Sarge that pulled her from the darkness of total hopelessness.
The 18-year-old is just one victim in a town where bullying is running rampant.
Last week, Warwick schoolgirl Amy "Dolly" Jayne Everett took her own life because of relentless bullying and now other families are coming forward to share their devastating stories.
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Samantha says she has been bullied her whole life, at school, on the street and in her workplace.
She's been chased down the street, hit in the face and bullies told her taking her life would "do the world a favour".
At the age of 14, she turned to self harm because she was made to feel worthless.
"When people say it, you start to believe it," she said.
"There were times mum made me sleep in her room because she didn't trust I wouldn't do something."
She was diagnosed with post traumatic stress disorder and used make-up as a "mask", as she tried to move as far away from the labels of "fat" and "ugly" the bullies slapped on her.
"Hitting me hurts but all that heals, the emotional stuff doesn't," she said.
The last half of Year 12 was a write-off for Samantha, as stress made her constantly unwell and she suffered vomiting, boils and even contracted glandular fever.
Samantha said she understood how Dolly was pushed to the edge.
"Without talking to Mum I probably would have killed myself at the same stage as Dolly did," she said.
"Being a 14-year-old girl and being bullied isn't fun, you're trying to figure out how to be a teenager then."
When a family friend asked her to nurse a rescue horse back to health, as well as herself, it was the life-raft she needed and to this day she thanks her four-legged friend.
Samantha's mum Jenny Topp said it was "horrifying" to watch her daughter endure years of abuse.
"I know how close I was to losing her and I'm glad we had people supporting her," she said.
The abuse escalated to the point where Samantha reported it to the police, who were reportedly unable to assist.
While unable to comment on the specific event, Warwick police said bullying victims should seek advice from police about their circumstance because every circumstance was different.
Fellow Warwick mother Cyndy Farrell said her eight-year-old daughter had already experienced bullying, being excluded by girls at school.
"They will push her away and say she's not allowed in that group any more," she said.
"She was crying her eyes out every afternoon I picked her up, she just didn't want to go to school.
"She would cling onto me so the teachers would hold her back so I could pry myself out of her arms."
Miss Farrell said it was heartbreaking to watch your child go through bullying.
"They can make you feel like your family doesn't even want you and for little kids it's a lot to handle, even (for) teenagers," she said.
"I don't blame the school, they can only do so much."
Warwick headspace manager Travis Maguire said the number of people experiencing bullying in Warwick was increasing.
"Now we've got a social media component, so it's relentless and it's there 24 hours and seven days a week," he said.
"A silent one we're seeing is social isolation; we see that quite a lot.
"The presentations are rising and getting younger for people who are reporting they're getting bullied."
Mr Maguire said headspace worked with Warwick primary and secondary schools last year to implement anti-bullying programs, such as peer mentor groups.
"I think the schools are being really proactive and they are trying to do the best they can," he said. "But it's not the school entirely, it's a holistic and collaborative approach."
This week it was also revealed the federal government is set to announce $110million in funding for youth mental health, with $30million allocated to headspace.
Mr Maguire said he hoped to see some of the funding sent to Warwick. "We'd like to do more outreach work in other communities."