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Woman, 20, who took her own life 'stayed up for hours helping people'

The parents of a young woman who took her own life have told of how she would stay up for hours helping people with their mental health but ‘could never help herself’.

Caitlin O’Reilly, from Stoke-on-Trent in Staffordshire, had been on a night out with friends in Manchester when she committed suicide, seven years after she had been sexually groomed by an older man at 13-years-old.

The 20-year-old, whose body was discovered at the Premier Inn at Manchester Central, struggled with self-harm but tried to help others going through similar issues, her grieving family have said.

Her mother, Kay Speedman, from Newcastle, said: ‘Even when she was suffering with her own mental health she would stay up on social media for hours at night helping other kids. 

‘They would see at school she had self-harmed and didn’t dare speak to her.

‘At night she’d get a message “I’ve self harmed, what do I do?” She would sit up until the early hours talking to them. 

‘She was telling them they must do something about it and seek help. She would spend hours helping other people but she could never help herself.’

Kay said her daughter never thought ‘she was good enough’ and had to deal with ‘adult emotions without knowing how to’ after she was groomed. 

Caitlin’s mother said that she ‘always thought that she was not worthy’.

Kay said: ‘The first time she came home from high school, I thought somebody had bullied her, she had got “not good enough” written with a black pen down her forearm.

‘I said “Who’s done that to you?” She looked at me and said “It was me”.

According to her mother, Caitlin also struggled socially as she was ‘on the outskirts of the popular group’, leaving her feeling like she ‘never quite fit in or like she belonged’.

After Caitlin’s body was found on August 18 last year, Stoke-on-Trent youth charity Ruff and Ruby launched a ‘Caitlin collection’ of T-shirts. 

The ‘Positive-tee’ range has different slogans to make young girls feel good about themselves, including ‘Peng Ting Inside’, ‘You Glow Gurl’ and ‘Always Worthy’, ‘Always Good Enough’.

Kay said: ‘It’s overwhelming to see the T-shirts on display and the efforts that the team have gone into to get everything together, it’s amazing.

‘We need to show young girls that it isn’t all about Instagram and filters, you have got to love yourself.

‘We are making young people think that they have got to fit into a box instead of making their own box. Hopefully pupils like Caitlin won’t fall through the cracks.’

All proceeds from sales will go to the Caitlin O’Reilly Fund which offers young people mental health support packages and early intervention.

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