Monday 21 May 2018

Mother of Milly (11) sets up suicide support group to help others

Milly Tuomey was
Milly Tuomey was "greatly loved", said her parents

Louise Roseingrave

The mother of little Milly Tuomey (11) set up a suicide support group to help others and prevent future loss of life in the wake of her daughter's death.

Fiona Tuomey founded the Healing Untold Grief Group (HUGG) with a number of specific aims.

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.’

"Milly was extremely vivacious, loud, chatty and fun. She had a super relationship with her sister. When she entered a room you knew about it, she was that kind of girl," Mrs Tuomey said.

The family, from Dublin 6 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," the child's mother said.

Fiona Tuomey 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," Mrs Tuomey said, speaking at the inquest into her daughter’s death earlier this week.

"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," she said.

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 GP who 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 GP’s to be specifically trained in identifying the recognised red flags associated with suicidal risk," the family said in a statement.

The Tuomey family had lived in Switzerland for five years and Milly was a fluent speaker of German and Swiss German. She loved figure skating and had entered competitions. She loved to play the piano.

When Milly left her parents, sister and grandfather watching a film in the living room to go upstairs, saying she was ‘bored’ on January 1 2016, she said 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.

Suicide in this age group is rare but becoming more frequent, according to Prof Ella Arensman, Director of Research at the National Suicide Research Foundation.

She warned that younger children are now choosing ‘more highly lethal’ methods of self harm than previously. It is not known yet if this is connected to exposure to social media, Dr Arensen said.

"We see more young people where the time window of self harm moving onto highly lethal methods (or adult type methods) seems to be much shorter. We are concerned about exposures that are difficult for us to control," Dr Arensman said.

You can find out more about the Healing Untold Grief support group here

If you have been affected by any issues raised in this article, please contact The Samaritans free helpline on 116 123.

Online Editors

Today's news headlines, directly to your inbox every morning.

Editor's Choice

Also in Irish News