By Kelly O'Brien
A broken-hearted Cork mother who lost three children in a murder-suicide has made an emotional appeal for those with mental health issues to get the help they need.
Helen O'Driscoll, from Charleville, was returning home from Waterford with her husband last September when the tragedy occurred. Her eldest son Jonathan, who was 21 at the time, took his own life after the fatal stabbings of his two younger brothers, twin nine-year-old boys Patrick and Thomas Jnr.
Speaking on the anniversary of their deaths, Helen revealed Jonathan was being treated for schizophrenia, paranoia and depression and suspects he had stopped taking his medication in the days leading up to the murder-suicide.
“We finally realised that he needed help and that he was sick, God bless him. And I asked him to get that help and he did it for me,” said Helen, speaking on RTE’s The Late Late Show.
“He went and he got help, got told to go to the GP. But he stopped taking his medication they reckon, a week before he died.”
Despite everything that happened, Helen said she has forgiven Jonathan and believes he is in heaven with her other children.
“I forgive Jonathan because it’s a fact that I know it really wasn’t him at the end of the day that done it. It was his sickness that done it," she said.
"If he was in his right mind he’d never hurt a hair on their head. But he wasn’t, God love him.”
Now, Helen is making an emotional appeal for anyone with mental health issues to get the help they need.
“There is help out there if you feel that you’re down or if you’re in a little black hole that you just don’t feel that you want to come out of any more. There is help there,” she said.
“The first step is always going to be the hardest but if you look for it you’ll find it and you might have some chance of a life. But if you don’t… it could be your mother sitting here broken-hearted in 12 months time.”