Tragic and 'gifted' young man slipped through cracks of mental health system - inquest

The body of a young man who ‘slipped through the cracks’ of the mental health system was found decomposed in his flat, an inquest has heard.

Neil McCabe (28) of Fairview Avenue Lower, Dublin 3 was found in his ground floor bedsit on July 1 2015. The young man was described as a gifted musician, a talented artist and a beautiful person by his heartbroken family.

He loved to play the guitar and write poetry his mother, Helena McCabe said. He was first treated with medication for ADHD aged seven, Dublin Coroner's Court heard.

He had a history of anxiety, obsessive compulsive disorder, an eating disorder and as he grew older developed problems with alcohol, the court heard.

At an inquest into his death, his family asked questions about medications he was prescribed, including Librium, used to help relieve the symptoms of alcohol withdrawal. Michael McCabe told Coroner Dr Myra Cullinane that his son underwent an alcohol detox programme on 22 occasions in the final two years of his life.

“Neil was walking and talking at nine months old, he was gifted. We placed him in the hands of a system that I believed destroyed him,” Helena McCabe said. She and the family are planning an exhibit of her son’s artistic work, including short stories he wrote for children, in honour of his memory.

Mr McCabe spent three weeks at the Mater Hospital after he was admitted in March 2015 following a seizure. He was treated for alcohol dependency and an MRI scan revealed a fractured vertebrae in his back. “I visited him almost every day. He was in great form. But he was worried about going home. He pleaded to be allowed stay,” Mrs McCabe said.

His mother last saw him a day or two after his discharge from the Mater Hospital on April 3 2015. She spoke to him a few days later but he had been drinking, she said.

“I texted him after that but got no reply. When I didn’t hear from him I thought he’d got his life back together,” Mrs McCabe told the court. The last use of his ATM card was dated April 20 2015.

Garda Barry Poland said he responded to a call from Mr McCabe’s neighbour on July 1 2015. Connie Homan said she had not seen him for about four weeks.

A post mortem report found Mr McCabe suffered no wounds or trauma and the cause of death was undetermined.

Returning an open verdict, Coroner Dr Myra Cullinane said she would write to a consultant psychologist at St Vincent’s Hospital and the social work department at the Mater Hospital seeking a meeting with the family to ‘go through outstanding issues.’

Speaking after the inquest, Mr McCabe's brother said he had 'slipped through the cracks' of the mental health system and his loss had devastated the family.

More on this topic

Quarter of young people in Ireland suffer from severe anxietyQuarter of young people in Ireland suffer from severe anxiety

Bilingualism and dementia: how some patients lose their second language and rediscover their firstBilingualism and dementia: how some patients lose their second language and rediscover their first

GPs must stop putting people into diagnostic boxes and pause before prescribing antidepressantsGPs must stop putting people into diagnostic boxes and pause before prescribing antidepressants

Study finds 35% of under 35 have mental health issuesStudy finds 35% of under 35 have mental health issues


Lifestyle

Vincent Thurkettle, author of The Wood Fire Handbook, talks to Luke Rix-Standing about one of our best-loved simple pleasures – the log fire.Burning love: Why are roaring wood fires so endlessly appealing?

More From The Irish Examiner