herald

Tuesday 17 October 2017

'Please talk', mum of suicide victim (21) urges young people

a heartbroken mother who recently lost her 21-year-old son to suicide has appealed to young people suffering from depression to ask for help.

Daniel Dempsey, from Kilmahuddrick, in Clondalkin, had only just celebrated his 21st birthday at Electric Picnic with his younger brother Sean (18).

But less than three weeks later his lifeless body was found on a stretch of canal between Clondalkin and Lucan.

His devastated mother, Carol Cosgrove, has spoken out because she wants young people "to stop seeing suicide as an option".

Support

Carol said that she wants them to know that "asking for help is a sign of strength, reaching out and accepting support.

"Daniel had his whole life ahead of him but now he's gone and our family life is destroyed," she added.

Carol explains how her son was reluctant to talk to anyone about his depression and kept everything bottled up inside.

"He just didn't want to take any help, he didn't want to talk to anybody," she told the Herald.

"I begged him to talk to someone, anyone, but he just wouldn't go."

Carol has nothing but praise for her tragic first-born and said he was "an amazing person who happened to suffer from depression".

The mum-of-three said that there is a lethal culture of "not talking" among young people in Ireland and Daniel kept to himself after suffering years of bullying.

Her clever son was tortured by kids and teenagers his age both inside and outside school, Carol said.

"Daniel was very bright. He was reading the newspaper when he was five," she explained.

"He had an old head on him but he wasn't understood by other kids so they picked on him.

"Daniel was very good at school and got a great Junior Cert and Leaving Cert but he was badly bullied, not just inside school but outside."

Carol stresses she is not suggesting that bullying was the whole reason Daniel took his own life but said that "it definitely contributed to his depression".

She became aware of this when Daniel was 14 and had brought him to doctors, counsellors and psychiatrists over the years.

In the last few months Daniel, who has two younger brothers, had made several serious attempts to take his own life.

He had started to smoke cannabis as an "escape" but this deepened his depression.

"I tried to tell him that's like putting a match to a fire," Carol said. "I had tried to tell him that if people take their own lives they leave devastation behind for their family, their friends and even the person who finds them.

"Suicide is such a waste of a life. Once you take your life you can't come back and I don't think young people realise it," she stressed.

The family have been torn apart by the tragic turn of events, Carol added.

But she said that she hopes that by opening up about her family's experience, she might prevent another young person contemplating suicide.

Independent councillor Dermot Richardson, who is related to Daniel, said that his case is just one of many tragedies in Dublin brought on by a lack of funding in the area of mental health services, particularly for young people.

Intervention

Ireland has the fourth highest suicide rate in Europe and the most recent CSO statistics identified that more than 500 people died by suicide in 2011.

Cllr Richardson describedcuts to mental health funding as a "a cop-out by Government", and the Tallaght councillor said that he would be focusing on improving funding for mental health services for young people in the coming months.

"I'm going to lobby councillors to by-pass the Government and look for intervention from Europe," he added.

Both Carol and Cllr Richardson urged young people to reach out in times of distress.

Support lines for anyone who feels depressed or suicidal include Teenline 1800 833634. Pieta House 01-6010000, Console 1800 247247 or Beacon of Light 01-4578700.

hnews@herald.ie

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