In 2010, 490 people in Louisiana committed suicide. That's a number that deeply affects the loved ones left behind, like John and Jessica Morton, who lost their daughter Haley "Danielle" Cox last May. "She was real kind, very sweet, kind-hearted. She cared about everybody," Jessica Morton said.
They say their daughter had battled with depression and called a friend, telling him she was thinking about suicide. "He posted her number on Facebook because they shared a lot of friends together, asked people to text her, tell her not to do this," John Morton said. But the wrong person found Danielle's phone number and began sending her dozens of text messages, encouraging her to end her life.
For this family, Danielle's experience has created a desire to reach out to others and end cyber-bullying. Facebook has begun taking steps as well, implementing a new tool last December that allows users to contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline to report threatening posts.
John and Jessica Morton say it's a step in the right direction, but there's still more to be done. They've begun "Smiles for Danielle," a group that aims to raise awareness about bullying and suicide. They held their first big event in October and are launching a website this year. The Facebook group "Smiles for Danielle" has over a thousand members from all across the country. "This just doesn't happen here," John Morton said. "It's everywhere and we need to work to stop it."
To find out more about "Smiles for Danielle," visit the Facebook group.