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Wednesday 1 October 2014

Grieving mum in plea to parents

Gordon Deegan

Published 04/12/2012 | 05:00

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THE grieving mother of a Junior Cert student who took his own life asked parents to be extra vigilant over the mental health of their teenage children.

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Caroline Winder was speaking after an inquest into the death of her 15-year-old son William, who took his own life days before he was due to sit his Junior Certificate last June.

Mrs Winder and her mother Mary Brennan made the grim discovery of William's body after he did not return home on Sunday, June 3.

He had hanged himself at the rear of Mrs Brennan's home in Mullagh, Millown Malbay, on Clare's west coast.

Speaking after the inquest, Mrs Winder said: "William was a very fun, very energetic boy but sometimes he took things just a little too seriously unfortunately.

"He was a very sensitive boy, but he was a closed book and he probably didn't think he needed help."

William only turned 15 last April and Mrs Winder said: "No one ever expected it. It was a complete shock and even now it is a complete shock.

"We had no warning signs. No one saw it coming.

"He must have been suffering from some depression and probably didn't think he would pull through the Junior Cert."

Mrs Winder asked that parents remain vigilant over their children's mental welfare.

"There are no signs in some cases. We had no signs.

"Be aware. Keep your eyes and ears open. If they are down over something, ask why.

"If they are quiet and withdrawn, don't let them stay up in their bedroom for three hours playing Playstation."

She added: "Depression in teenagers is very common, especially boys because they go through so many hormonal changes. That is what happened with William."

William's grandmother Mrs Brennan told the inquest that he had called to her home earlier that night. She said he was his usual chirpy self and said that he would be back in a few minutes, but he never returned.

The post-mortem found that William died from asphyxia.

County Coroner Isobel O'Dea returned an open verdict at the inquest in Ennis.

Ms O'Dea said: "I'm not satisfied beyond reasonable doubt that William intended to take his own life. I'm conscious of the fact that William was coming up to the Junior Cert exam and he may have felt under pressure on that."

Mrs Winder and her husband, Mark, have established the William Winder Rainbow Foundation to increase awareness. See williamwinderrainbowfoundation.ie

Irish Independent

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