The River Corrib under the Wolfe Tone Bridge, Galway
Denise McNamara, in the Connacht Tribune, reports:
An 18-year-old girl who was rescued from the River Corrib following a suicide attempt, was then turned away from the Emergency Department at UHG.
Dripping wet from the attempted drowning at Wolfe Tone Bridge, she was assessed in the back of an ambulance by a triage nurse and was deemed unfit to be admitted to the hospital.
She kept insisting she would take her own life, so Gardaí brought her to a cell at Mill Street for her own safety.
When her father arrived to collect her from Galway Garda Station, she was still insisting that she would repeat the suicide attempt.
The pair then drove to the Emergency Department, where he pleaded with medical staff to admit his daughter due to her acute psychotic state. Staff refused, and she remained in a distressed and uncooperative state.
My friend Derek [Cosgrove] passed away tragically after taking his own life [his body was discovered in the River Shannon December 6, 2016]. Derek’s mother Majella gave a very emotional speech about her son and the mental health services in Ireland. Could you share this [below] as I think it is really important for people to read this about the state of our mental health services in Ireland with their continuous cuts to funding and increased pressure on nurses and doctors….
Derek was diagnosed with depression following a psychotic episode three years ago. Majella Cosgrove said her son had recently changed his medication.“which led to sleepless nights, anxiety and fear”.
“We have services here in Ireland that are supposed to support us – the mental health service, which Derek and I trusted and they let us down. Derek is gone. He was failed by the very system that was supposed to help him.
In society, we are all affected by suicide. We hear the helicopters and it sends chills down us. We see search and rescue boats. We see candles, flowers placed on bridges.
Why are Irish families suffering in silence? What can we do? Why is it being accepted? Why does our mental health service not have proper supports in place? Why is medication not more closely monitored? Why is funding not a priority set by our government?
Is the answer a simple one? Is it because people suffering with mental health issues have no voice? They have no voice. They have no power.”
Among those to have died by suicide in the city in recent weeks include an 18-year-old scout from Greenmount, and two of his friends, a 15-year-old girl from Ballyphehane and a 17-year-old girl, a fifth-year student, from Rochestown.
An 18-year-old boy from Mayfield, a 20-year-old man from Togher, and a 44-year-old woman from Ballyphehane are also suspected to have died by suicide in recent days.
The rate of suicides in the city and county is almost twice the national average.
Mr Cusack called for the establishment of a 24/7 “emotional wellbeing centre” in the city to support those at risk of suicide, and said society needs to remove the stigma associated with mental health.
You Jung Han (top) and Kinsale Road Direct Provision Centre (above)
You Jung Han, 36, from South Korea, was found dead in the Kinsale Road direct provision centre on Tuesday night.
She was the mother of a six-year-old boy who is now in care.
Movement of Asylum Seekers in Ireland (Masi) write:
This is You Jung Han… the lady whose life was cut short by the shortfalls of the system of direct provision leaving behind a 6-year-old boy. How you may ask? The system pushed her to a depressed state and she took her own life by hanging herself.
She is not alone in that state, a lot of people are wallowing in depression in different centres. Do we sit down and continue to watch while more incidents like this reoccur? Or do we pick up our voice and raise awareness to what is really happening to people behind the scenes of DP.
Masi believes that what affects one affects all… asylum seekers voices needs to be heard. WE ARE HUMANS TOO. Our heart goes out to the little boy… what does the future hold for him now? May You rest in peace.
Sinn Féin TD Mary Lou McDonald during Leaders’ Questions today
“Tánaiste, I wish, this morning, to raise with you the issue of mental health and suicide prevention. Yesterday, the coroner’s court held an inquest into the death by suicide of a young man in November, 2014.
This man was Ryan Dempsey, from The Liberties.
He was in his 20s, he had his full life ahead of him and he was clearly a young man at risk.
He’d been discharged five times from accident and emergency in a six-month period before his death.”
Taking an overdose, on one occasion, he was brought to the A&E, and was discharged on the same day. Found hanging another time, brought to the A&E, discharged 12 hours later.”
“The following day, he tried to throw himself out of a window, again, brought to the A&E and discharged within hours.”
“On the final occasion, he presented himself to the A&E, he was expressing suicidal feelings. He, Tánaiste, was left in a room by himself, where he attempted to cut himself twice.”
He was then transferred to a ward, left on his own again, and Ryan hanged himself and he died.
“…Tánaiste, we failed Ryan. The health system failed Ryan and how different it all might have been if Ryan was provided with the proper follow-up care on his first presentation.
His family believe that he was not assessed properly, he was not observed properly, his care was inappropriate, inadequate, right up until the time that he took his life.”
“Ryan was failed by the mental health service, which simply does not function at the times when people need it. Accident and Emergency (A&E) is not the right place for people in acute, mental distress.”
“So we need to fund the delivery of community and early intervention services, as was promised ten years ago in Vision For Change. And yet, ten years on, we still don’t have 24/7 crisis intervention services. Not a single crisis house has been established and, at present, there are just 15 suicide crisis intervention nurses in the State.”
“People in distress present themselves to the Gardaí, to the A&E, places where over-stretched and, sometimes, inappropriately trained staff struggle and do their best but they’re not capable of proving the appropriate care.”
Sinn Féin’s Mary Lou McDonald speaking in the Dáil in the last hour.
Watch today’s Dáil proceedings – the last before the summer recess – live here
The truth of it is that I’ve spent a large part of the past 20 years bitten by the black dog, but I think more people have than will ever let on, but much of the time is spent ‘keeping the best side out’. The days of either being mad or sane are thankfully over, & if we sat down for a chat we’d probably find that we’re only as mad as each other.
I don’t expect many people to watch this to be honest, nor does it matter one way or another. My only hope is that it might find its way to somebody in the darkness, and possibly bring them some bit of light along the way.
Trevor Murtagh was the only child of Seamus and Carole Murtagh of Dundalk, Co Louth.
A busy political activist and writer, Trevor graduated from Trinity College Dublin with a masters degree in Psychoanalytical Studies.
He took his own life the day after his 29th birthday.
In Village magazine, where Trevor interned, Trevor’s cousin Jon-Paul Faulkner documents the family’s struggle to get him help in a system that made things worse.
I was living up in Dublin. Trevor was at home in Louth. We were close cousins who had lived next door to each other our whole lives – he was my brother really, to be honest. Trevor, apart from my Mum, was the closest person in my life, he was my family.
I always thought Trevor was fine, he was honestly the most positive and encouraging person I had ever met, he seemed to have a philosophy on life that was all about living and having fun and loving. In all my life I never once heard Trevor say he disliked anyone, and that was the kind of person he was; it was the kind of person I aspired to be.
Whenever I felt down, I’d be really quiet; Trevor was the opposite: he could always talk ‘til the cows came home and was really outgoing. This made me think that Trevor was happy.
He had changed a little since he had had a bout of depression in 2011, just after he finished his Master’s in Psychology. His family and friends knew about it. He was still Trevor, positive and outgoing, but when we’d go socialising he would sometimes be more hyperactive than usual, talking non-stop, but still so, so much energy, so outgoing, clever, and apparently happy.
I got a phone call from his parents to say Trevor had been admitted to hospital. His friends had found a suicide note crumpled up in a basket and he had been hospitalised. I couldn’t believe it. It came as a complete shock.
I had seen him the previous weekend, and he seemed ok, though not his usual cheerful self, certainly a bit quieter than usual. Trevor was admitted to hospital on 20 June 2014 and was discharged nine weeks later on 22 August.
It took me a long time to write this, mainly because we wanted to wait until Trevor’s inquest before telling our story, and that didn’t happen until 3 November 2015, but also because, going through in detail what happened to Trevor during his stay in hospital is so, so painful for me: I don’t want to remember him that way.
I think of Trevor from the moment I wake up to when I lie in bed at night, but I try to remember the real Trevor, the happy one – of those memories I have so many. The perverse images of Trevor, once so full of life, lying in a coffin, these memories come to me and I struggle to push them away and think of happier times.
Trevor’s family, and particularly his Mum, Carole, struggled in vain to get help for her only child. We thought we were lucky that Trevor was actually admitted to a psychiatric hospital, but unfortunately we were not lucky with a minority of his healthcare professionals, including his head consultant. His mental health actually deteriorated during his stay in hospital.
When I came in to the hospital that evening of 20 June it broke my heart. It was surreal; Trevor wasn’t Trevor, he was manic, he was so distressed, he kept rubbing his fist against the side of his head, “there’s nothing, there’s nothing in here”, he was saying. “I’m nothing”. It didn’t make sense, Trevor thought he had nothing in his head, nothing to say, the guy could talk for two hours straight about most topics, he was an intelligent guy! He was also saying he had no friends, yet Trevor had such a huge number of friends, and they were ‘real’ friends, they all really loved him, and they were from all walks of life.
Trevor was delusional. I tried to comfort him. “Trevor”, I said, “look, you’re going to get better, trust me, these doctors are the best in Europe, this is one of the best hospitals in Ireland, they’re going to find out what’s wrong with you and you’re going to get better, soon, trust me!”.
But I was wrong, and it didn’t take long to realise it.
Michelle Ross on Claire Byrne Live last night, above, and her late brother Derek, top
Last night, fashion and beauty blogger Michelle Ross spoke on RTÉ’s Claire Byrne Live about her brother Derek who died by suicide last September.
Ms Ross’s appearance followed a blog post that she wrote about Derek, who had addiction problems and suffered from depression, last week.
Recalling the night Derek died, Ms Ross told the show:
“When I talk about Derek having addiction problems, he wasn’t a full-blown addict, he kind of just dabbled in recreational drugs. He suffered really bad with depression though and he went many times to doctors and was always offered advice on taking anti-depressants which is something that he, kind of, didn’t want to do. When he was told he should take anti-depressants, he kind of thought he could try and get himself out of it.
“Months previous to him taking his own life, he had made an [suicide] attempt. Obviously he wasn’t successful at that stage and we were sent to an A&E department and, after hours of waiting to be seen, he was sent home with a letter in his hand for a referral appointment for two months’ time.”
“We got the referral letter to out local GP office. On the following morning, I contacted the office myself and just basically said to them, ‘we’ve got our referral letter’ [to go and see a psychiatrist]. He had seen a psychiatrist that night in the A&E department and they said that they couldn’t help him there. When I contacted the GP the following morning they said, ‘oh yeah, we received the referral from the hospital last night’ and they gave me an appointment for two months’ time.”
“I kicked up a bit of a fuss about that and refused to get off the phone until I got an earlier appointment. I didn’t get anything and then a friend of the family arranged for Derek to go and see a counsellor in Coolmine. And he went for that counselling session and then it kind of just went by the wayside”
“We didn’t know where to turn to. We weren’t offered any advice about any organisations that we could go to and seek help from ourselves, as a family, for Derek, and he was willing to go and get help. He wanted to get his head right but we just didn’t know what to do.”
Meanwhile, University of Limerick students Caolan O’Donnell, Ciaran Cleary and Ciaran English were in the audience.
Last week, they made a video – for Caolan’s campaign for welfare officer at UL – which aimed to raise awareness about mental health.
Caolan (above far right) said:
“The fact that we don’t have a minister for mental health is an embarrassment. As in, it’s clearly a massive, massive issue. 131 students on average, a year in Ireland, die by suicide. How is that being ignored?”
“Recently a well-known comic musician from Limerick described his generation as either getting on planes or jumping in rivers. With a suicide rate of about twice the national average, Limerick City is an extreme example of the national mental health and suicide crisis.
Jack Olohan met with the Corbett Suicide Prevention Patrol to discuss their work and the problems being faced on a daily basis. In the run-up to the election the issue of mental illness and suicide rates in Ireland must be clearly addressed.”