Mother of Milly (11) establishes haven for those bereaved

THE mother of 11-year-old Milly Tuomey has established a suicide support group to support those bereaved by suicide and to prevent the future loss of life following the death of her young daughter.

Living in Templeogue, Fiona Tuomey has set up the Healing Untold Grief Group (HUGG), which provides a “safe place to meet, talk and share”.

 

milly

 The group has a Facebook page, and recently organised an eight-week workshop for suicide bereaved.

Fiona and Tim Tuomey lost their daughter Milly to suicide on January 4, 2016.

Following the recent inquest into Milly’s death, during which the coroner returned a verdict of suicide, Fiona and Tim said in a statement: “Milly was loving and greatly loved, fit, healthy, connected, engaged and talented.

“When we discovered out of the blue that our child had told her friends on Instagram that she had chosen the day she would die, we couldn’t believe it.

“We did not know what to do.”

Dublin Coroner’s Court heard that on November 3, 2015, Milly posted on Instagram to hundreds of friends of her intention to die on a certain date.

Her parents were alerted by her elder sister and her school and they took Milly to see their GP and during this visit Milly spoke about thoughts of self-harm and said she had been unhappy with her physical appearance for a number of years.

Her GP recommended she see a clinical psychologist at An Cuan, a private counselling and psychotherapy clinic.

The Tuomeys made an appointment but the psychologist was no longer taking patients. Milly was assigned to an art therapist, who was not qualified to make clinical assessments, the inquest heard.

The child began a series of weekly appointments on November 24, 2015 where she was encouraged to explore her emotions through verbal and visual means.

After Milly’s first visit, the therapist advised Mrs Tuomey to make an appointment with the HSE’s Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS).

An appointment was made for January 30, 2016 but this was brought forward after Mrs Twomey found a ‘suicide diary’ along with medication indicating an attempt at self-harm under her daughter’s bed.

“She’d cut herself and written in biro on herself, ‘beautiful girls don’t eat’,” Mrs Tuomey told the court.

“We were terrified. We had no experience of this and no idea what to do,” she said.

The family was advised to go to their local emergency department if any concerns arose over Christmas or out of hours.

On January 1 2016, Milly was found in a critical condition and emergency services were called. She was rushed to Our Lady’s Children’s Hospital where she died on January 4.

Ireland currently ranks fifth in Europe in cases of suicide in the 10 to 14 age group and the past decade has seen a ‘step by step increase’ in instances of non-fatal self-harm among 10 to 14 year olds, according to Director of Research at the National Suicide Research Foundation, Professor Ella Arensman.

The coroner noted comments from experts who stated further resources were required for child and adolescent mental health services and recommended the provision of information to support parents and families while they wait to be seen by services.

For further information on the support group set-up by Fiona Toumey, visit the Healing Untold Grief Group – HUGG Facebook page.

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