Wednesday 22 November 2017

'From the bottom of my heart, if people with mental health issues are sent home, it's a disgrace' - mother who lost three sons to murder-suicide

Helen O'Driscoll
Helen O'Driscoll
Jonathan, Patrick and Tommy O’Driscoll
Geraldine Gittens

Geraldine Gittens

A heartbroken mother who lost three sons to murder-suicide says she will never stop her campaign for better services for people with mental health issues.

On September 4th 2014, Helen O'Driscoll's adopted son Jonathan stabbed his nine-year-old twin brothers in Charleville, Co. Cork.

After the boys' inquest, Helen found out that Jonathan had been suffering from a combination of three different mental illnesses.

The inquest heard that Jonathan had stopped taking all his anti-psychosis medications over a week before the tragedy.

“When you find out you have cancer, you have the opportunity of going to get treatment to help you, and hopefully it will help. It’s the same with mental health, if you get it on time and get the right treatment at the right time, then it’ll prevent it.”

“I think from the bottom of my heart, it’s so hard for any girl or boy, it’s hard enough for that person to say to a doctor, mother, father, to say that they have a problem, and when they do that but there are no services and they’re sent home, that’s a disgrace.”

“There’s no child going to come out and say that there’s something wrong with me unless they need help.”

Helen spoke to independent.ie today ahead of her appearance on a TV3 documentary 'Murder in the Family: True Lives' which will air tonight at 9pm.

On the day of the killings, Helen was buying a miniature caravan for the twins' impending birthday with her husband.

“Do you think if I knew that my son had three mental illnesses that for one minute I would have left him with my children? I would not.”

Helen believed Jonathan was depressed over the failure of two relationships and the fact that he was unemployed.

"My fight would be the mental side of it, that they’re not doing the services for people. Because if they were, my children would be alive today.”

"Jonathan drove himself to the hospital, that’s how determined he was to get well. That’s how determined he was."

“If someone like me doesn’t talk out and say what I think, people won’t get the help they need.”

“Jonathan loved all four of his brothers,” she said.

Anyone affected by issues in this story can contact the Samaritans freephone line on 116 123 or Pieta House on 1800 247 247.

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