Father who took own life ‘abandoned by health service’

The family of a man who took his own life on the third anniversary of his son’s death says he was abandoned by the health service.

John McLaughlin’s family said he never got over the tragic death of his son Mark, who was one of eight people killed in Co Donegal in Ireland’s worst-ever road crash.

Mark McLaughlin, 21, died along with six of his close friends following the horrific crash in Clonmany on the Inishowen Peninsula on Jul 11, 2010.

Last week, his 46-year-old father, from Ballinahone in Fahan, was found in a shed at his home.

He leaves behind his devastated wife Roma and the couple’s only other child Damian, 20.

Mark’s sister Tina Breslin said her family are devastated by John’s passing. She said he had tried to take his life before and had been in hospital for psychiatric help.

He was admitted to Letterkenny General Hospital last Monday week with chest pains but while in hospital he began to feel depressed coming up to his son’s anniversary.

Tina said he sought psychiatric help but was told it would be two weeks until he could be seen.

“He was a crying-out victim for help. He tried to take his own life before and we told the nurses to keep an eye on him.

“We were especially concerned about last Thursday because it was his son’s anniversary.

“I am not blaming the hospital but he should have seen someone before he came home. He was crying out for help and had a history of psychiatric problems but got no help. He was abandoned when he needed help the most.”

The HSE said it would not comment on individual cases but added: “There are a wide range of mental health services across the Donegal area and these include a 24 hour emergency department in Letterkenny Hospital, GP services, and out of hour GP services available from every evening and all weekend.”

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