Coroner appeals to suicidal ‘seek help’

A coroner, visibly moved by the number of suicides and the families’ devastation, appealed to anyone considering taking their own life to contact suicide prevention organisations.

Terence Casey, who sits in South Kerry, said there were a number of support groups available. He noted suicide was on the rise again in the region, after a lull of several years.

In 2015, there were eight suicides in south and east Kerry which covers less than half the large county but, so far this year, there have been nine cases.

Mr Casey paid tribute to a six-man jury, sitting in Killarney, who had to hear “repeatedly harrowing experiences”. He said it was very hard on juries to listen to cases of suicide. Verdicts of suicide were returned in five of the seven inquests.

It emerged most of the tragic cases involved men but alcohol had not been a significant factor in the 2016 statistics to date. Alcohol had been consumed in just one of the nine cases.

Two of the nine were female while a further statistic showed none of the deaths related to anyone aged under 21. Two of the deceased were aged over 60, while one man, whose death was recalled at the May coroner’s court was married and in his 80s. Four of the five people who took their own lives, in cases heard this week, were male with all, but one, occurring in May. Two had a history of depression, their ages ranging from 28 to 63.

The cases heard were:

  • A 28-year-old Slovak national who was not long in Kenmare who had been staying with his brother and partner and who was bothered by failing to find work.
  • A 36-year-old Waterville woman who died in June. She was found after she failed to arrive for dinner at her parents’ house. It was uncharacteristic of her not to ring if running late. She had been in good form earlier that day. A note she left was given to the jury to assess.
  • A 43-year-old Killarney town man living alone and suffering from depression. The date of death was estimated between May 14 when a nephew visited him and did shopping, and May 22 when his body was discovered in his bedroom by a brother who became concerned after there was no response to text messages.
  • A 39-year-old east Kerry man, married, found by his brother at lunchtime. He had no history of depression.
  • A 63-year-old married man and father from near Cahersiveen going through a bad bout of depression. He alerted a neighhour. A search led to the finding of the body.

Coroner Mr Casey said he was at a loss as to what to say, but his “saddest and deepest sympathy” went out to the families and friends of the deceased who were “not to blame”. He said suicide was “a plague” in the area and it affected him, as coroner. He said those who took their own lives did not realise the devastation felt among family and friends. “They don’t realise the pain and suffering they leave behind them,” he added.

More on this topic

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