11-year-old Milly’s Instagram suicide post ‘was bolt out of blue’

The mother of Milly Tuomey set up a suicide support group, Healing Untold Grief Group (HUGG), to help others and prevent future loss of life in the wake of her 11-year-old daughter’s death.

11-year-old Milly’s Instagram suicide post ‘was bolt out of blue’

The Tuomey family said their daughter’s post to Instagram that she had chosen the day she would die came like a “bolt out of the blue”.

The family, from Dublin, had recently moved back to Ireland from Switzerland and Milly had settled in well. “She was very happy at school and loved it, She had new best friends, there was no bullying, she was not left out,” Ms Tuomey said.

She set up the HUGG support group to help others bereaved by suicide.

“The aim was to bring people together who have lost others to suicide. To provide peer support so people don’t feel so alone. It is also a point of information and a suicide authority to ring-fence services and prevent gaps, to prevent others going through what we have gone through.”

The family did everything in their power to help Milly after they became aware of her Instagram post on November 3, 2015: “We spoke with her and with her school and we took her to her GPwho we are told are the gatekeepers of treatment in Irish society.

“If you as we did, believe that the Irish College of General Practitioners require that the 2,500 GP’s in Ireland should be skilled in the practice of how to make a clinical assessment of suicidal risk then you will be shocked to know the answer is no. It is currently not obligatory for Irish GPs to be specifically trained in identifying the recognised red flags associated with suicidal risk,” the family said.

In response, the Irish College of General Practitioners expressed its sympathy to the Tuomey family and said: “The Irish College of General Practitioners wishes to clarify the position regarding the training of GPs in suicide prevention in general practice. GPs are the first point of contact, typically, when patients present with mental health difficulties in the health system.”

Dr Mark Murphy of the ICGP said: “Suicidal risk assessment is an obligatory part of the ICGP training curriculum for GPs. The ICGP in collaboration with the National Office for Suicide Prevention developed an e-learning module in 2014 specifically on suicide prevention in general practice.

“This is available to all GPs as part of their continuing medical education and is also available to all practice nurses on the IPNA website. Furthermore as part of this initiative a DVD was sent to each ICGP member on suicide prevention in general practice”.

On January 1, 2016, Milly left her parents, sister and grandfather watching a film in the living room to go upstairs, saying she was ‘bored’ and that she was going to play the piano. Earlier, her parents had spoken to her about her refusal to eat lunch and the importance of her health. Milly had previously spoken of her unhappiness with her appearance.

On the night of January 1, she was on Instagram and her parents told her she was not to leave the living room with her iPad. She’d been “annoyed by this”. She was found moments later in a critical condition upstairs and rushed to hospital where she died on January 4.

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