An 11-year-old child unhappy with her physical appearance posted on her Instagram account of her intention to die.
A coroner returned a verdict of suicide at the inquest into the death of Milly Tuomey, from Templeogue, in Dublin 6. The child died on January 4 2016.
"Milly was loving and greatly loved, fit, healthy, connected, engaged and talented," the child's devastated parents Fiona and Tim Tuomey said in a statement after the inquest. "When we discovered out of the blue that our child had told her friends on Instagram that she had chosen the day she would die, we couldn't believe it. We did not know what to do."
Dublin Coroner's Court heard that on November 3, 2015, Milly wrote of her intention to die on a certain date. Her parents were alerted by her elder sister and her school. They took Milly to see their GP and spoke about thoughts of self-harm, said she was unhappy with her physical appearance and spoke of a death wish.
Her GP recommended she see a psychologist at An Cuan, a private counselling and psychotherapy clinic. The Tuomeys made an appointment but the psychologist was no longer taking patients. Milly was assigned to an art therapist, who was not qualified to make clinical assessments, the inquest heard.
The child began a series of weekly appointments on November 24, 2015. After Milly's first visit, the therapist advised Mrs Tuomey to make an appointment with the HSE's Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS). An appointment was made for January 30, 2016, but this was brought forward after Mrs Tuomey found a 'suicide diary' along with medication indicating an attempt at self-harm under her daughter's bed.
"She'd cut herself and written in biro on herself, 'beautiful girls don't eat'," Mrs Tuomey told the court. "We were terrified. We had no experience of this and no idea what to do."
The family was advised to go to their local emergency department if any concerns arose over Christmas or out of hours. The court heard that on January 1, 2016, the family ate dinner together and watched a film. That evening, Milly declared she was bored and left the room. She was found moments later in a critical condition and emergency services were called. She was rushed to Our Lady's Children's Hospital where she died on January 4.
Irish children as young as seven have expressed suicidal ideation,psychiatrist Dr Antoinette D'Alton told the court. "Years ago this would have been unimaginable," she said.
Coroner Dr Myra Cullinane commended the Tuomeys for their decision to donate their little girl's organs.