Wednesday 13 December 2017

'My mum was right to tell me my dad took his own life,' girl (10) tells TV3's 'Ireland AM'

Alex Featherston, who lost her dad to suicide, says children should be told the truth.

Sarah Stack

Sarah Stack

A ten-year-old girl whose father took his own life said children should be told the truth about suicide.

Father-of-three Andy Morgan died tragically in the early hours of New Year’s Day 2011 leaving behind his partner Joanne Featherston and their three kids, Leanne (19), Alex (10) and eight-year-old Jamie.

Brave Alex appeared on Ireland AM with her mother Joanne to talk about why she feels children should be told the truth about suicide.

The youngster said she was originally told her dad had suffered a heart attack, but questioned her mother as she knew there was more to the story.

“I’d just say to them (parents) that they should tell their children because if I was the child and my mom just said ‘oh he got a heart attack’ or something like that, well then I’d grow up saying ‘at least that’s not bad, he didn’t want to die’,” she told TV3 presenters Sinead Ryan and Anton Savage

“But then imagine you’re a teenager and your mom tells you the truth and that’s just like a big burning feeling because it means they do want to die.”

Mr Morgan’s family and friends set up the Andy Morgan Foundation after his death to spread the message of hope to everyone who has lost someone to suicide.

Ms Featherston said she finally decided to tell her daughter the truth after getting advice from a number of support groups.

Ireland AM on TV3
Alex Featherston
Ireland AM on TV3 Alex Featherston

“Every time I’d go to say it, I couldn’t and then I’d be thinking of my parents because they’d probably be the old fashion way of you can’t tell them and you’re fighting yourself thinking am I doing the right thing?,” she added.

“I got a lot of information from Barnardos and a couple of other support groups and they all told me, yes you’ve got to tell them so it was actually while I was washing the bathtub when Alex came in and I told her.

“The relief [I felt] afterwards, even though I felt I was taking some of her childhood and her innocence away.”

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