TOLEDO, OH (WTOL) - It's not an easy subject to talk about, but it's a devastating problem impacting our kids.
Teen suicide is on the rise, and a new study suggests it's disproportionately impacting teenage girls.
Tiffany Adamski knows firsthand the heartbreak that comes with losing a child to suicide.
"Abigail was 13 when we lost her," Tiffany said.
She recalls the moment that altered her life forever.
"It changes everything… you know there's life before she died, there's life the day she died and there's everything that came after," Tiffany said.
Tiffany's daughter Abby was an active, fun-loving teenager at her Maumee middle school. A cheerleader who spoke several languages and loved to dance.
"She had everything going for her," Tiffany said emotionally.
But last fall, Abby's playful demeanor started to change.
"School started and there were some bullying incidents that happened," Tiffany said. "There were some mean girl situations and there were some really stupid boy situations."
Abby was active on social media sites like What's App and Instagram, where the bullies would taunt her even after school hours.
"Her What's App and Snap Chat I really couldn't see, but her Instagram and some of the pages she was following were pretty dark," Tiffany recalled. "Kind of glorifying suicide and hurting yourself."
Abby started cutting herself, hanging out with the wrong crowd and her grades began to slip.
"We took her into counseling, you know, just thinking she needed some skills to cope with the hormonal influx, the craziness that is being a teenager," Tiffany said.
The counseling seemed to help, and Abby was doing better. She even signed up for a pageant.
"The week before she died, we had just picked out her pageant dress. We had gone to David's Bridal and I've got the videos of her just waltzing up and down," Tiffany said.
But Abby never got the chance to take the stage.
On the morning of Monday, November 30, she got up for school, loaded the family gun and fired.
"She, um… took her own life," Tiffany said.
Unfortunately, Abby's tragic story has become more common.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released a report in April revealing that teen suicides have increased 24 percent from 1999 to 2014. Even more alarming is that suicide rates among teen girls ages 10 to 14 soared by 200 percent.
"Hiding that much pain… she was an amazing actress I guess," Tiffany said thinking back about her daughter. "I don't think she wanted anyone else to hurt the way that she was apparently hurting on the inside."
So why are so many teen girls taking their own lives, and how can parents prevent these heart-breaking situations from happening?
Experts say the key to surviving adolescent bullying is to help girls develop a positive self-image and the confidence to stand up to bullies.
Kristi Hoffman has made it her mission to help young girls increase their self-esteem.
"I feel so passionate about helping girls be strong and confident," Hoffman said.
Her new book Total Package Girl includes work books and step-by-step guides girls can follow to find that confidence before it's too late.
"Girls are faced with so many situations online now. Being left out of the Snap Chat story, being left out of the retweets and the mentions and the favorites," Hoffman said referring to social media websites. "It's becoming quite a frontier of being left out."
Hoffman offered some advice for teens facing bullies.
She said if a teen is being bullied, she should stay calm and not react. She also advised talking to an authority and unfriending the person on social media.
"Parents can look for warning signs to see if their kids are being affected," said Robin Isenberg, Executive Director for NAMI of greater Toledo.
Isenberg said parents and teachers should get help if they notice teens start sleeping too much, lose interest in hobbies they used to enjoy or their grades start to slip.
"Early intervention is key," Isenberg said. "Because it does prevent worse conditions down the road."
It's that early intervention that Tiffany Adamski believes could help save a life.
"If you start to see the warning signs, do what you can to get them, you know, the skills and the help that they need," Tiffany said.
For more information check out our #2Strong4Bullies campaign. There you'll find resources for parents, students and teachers to fight bullying and stop teen suicide.