Jacksonville woman creates anti-bullying program after daughter almost took her own life

Combating bullying

A local mother is taking the painful experience of seeing her daughter fall victim to bullying and turning it into a much bigger purpose -- to hep others.

Kelly Robbins says her daughter was bullied two years ago.

"It started in October, and probably about three months of this and Sydney started to get depressed," Robbins said. "And unfortunately, the school wasn't doing anything about it."

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She said one night her husband woke up to check on their daughter.

"He got to the TV room and went into her room and she had tried to take her life," Robbins said. "He found her, thank God, because if we would have slept through (it), she wouldn't have been with us the next morning."

Robbins tells us that she was devastated and feared for her daughter's future. That fear inspired Robbins to immerse herself in education, going back to school for cognitive behavioral therapy.

She then started The Bully Proof Vest program.

"I felt like there's nothing for the victims of bullying," Robbins said. "With my daughter, I was like, 'Wait a second. If we can teach these kids mental resiliency and mental toughness, then they'll know how to be able to stick up to the bully.'"

The Bully Proof Vest focuses on three main pillars: helping victims understand that they are not alone, that someone needs them, and reminding them that they are in charge of their own lives.

"Your thinking dictates your feelings, which dictates your behavior," Robbins said. "If you can stop the thinking, you can change everything."

Robbins' goal is to have The Bully Proof Vest become a curriculum used in schools, but for now she said she is working to engage and help people online.

"I'm working with a not-for-profit right now called Stand for the Silent," Robbins said. "They are an 18 countries and they have 356 chapters. What's really cool is they have come to me and they want me to train all their chapter leaders in The Bully Proof Vest," says Robbins.

She said through their chapters, her program could be in 18 countries and 356 schools very quickly.

Robbins was invited to an anti-bullying and drug forum earlier this week in Washington D.C., where she says she spoke to a donor about funds to further her program.

"We are working on an app right now where if a child is being bullied and they're in the bathroom or whatever they can get on the app," Robbins said.