Nigel Shelby’s mother speaks out about homophobic bullying
The mother of Nigel Shelby, a teen who died by suicide, has spoken out about the homophobic bullying he suffered.
Camika Shelby said she was “shocked” by the death of her son Nigel, a 15-year-old freshman at Huntsville High School in Alabama who took his own life on April 19.
In an interview with local news outlet WAFF 48, Shelby said her son had been struggling with depression and had been the victim of homophobic bullying.
Nigel Shelby’s mother: He was so much more than a kid bullied for being gay
She said: “Nigel was the sweetest child. He was outgoing, he was always full of joy, full of light, he was always singing, always dancing.
“He wanted to be a performer so you could probably see that.
“I don’t want him to be remembered as a kid who was bullied for being gay and who took his own life. He was so much more than that.
“He was sunshine. He was just a great spirit to have around and it just breaks my heart because I feel like he had so much more love to give.”
The grieving mother added that she is still not sure whether there was an incident at school on the day of Nigel’s suicide that pushed him over the edge.
Nigel Shelby ‘struggled with his identity’, mother says
Shelby’s mother explained: “I knew he was struggling. I knew he was depressed. We were going to see doctors on a regular basis. He was going to see a psychiatrist. I’m still shocked that my baby’s not here anymore.
“With Nigel’s situation he was already struggling with his identity, so he was going through some stressful times. And depression is real. A lot of people don’t understand that depression is a disease.
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“And when you have a kid who is already depressed and going through a lot emotionally, for you to call him names that you shouldn’t call him or say stuff to them, it sometimes has a worse effect than it would on a child who is not struggling with depression.”
She added: “Coming out at such a young age, it can be hard. You don’t know if you are going to be accepted. He didn’t know if I was going to accept him. He’s my child. I love him. I know him. I already knew.”
A GoFundMe page set up to raise money for the Shelby family surpassed its goal of $10,000, raising more than $37,000 in donations.
If you are in the US and are having suicidal thoughts, suffering from anxiety or depression, or just want to talk, call the National Suicide Prevention Line on 1-800-273-8255. If you are in the UK, you can contact the Samaritans on 116 123.