| 6.1°C Dublin

Don't mock STAR's latest cry of distress ... this is very, very alarming

Sinead O'Connor's excesses over the years have made her an easy target for ridicule and criticism -- but her cry for help on Twitter should not be ignored.

People do not lightly say they wish to die -- that's why Sinead O'Connor's statement that this is what she wants should be taken seriously. Even if a person is not actively planning suicide, such a cry is a sign of great distress.

If any other mother said she would take her own life if she could do so without her children knowing, then those around her would be very upset and vigilant.

It would, of course, be impossible for the singer to end her life by suicide without her children knowing -- but suicidal thinking can become very distorted and that's where the danger lies. We have become used to seeing Sinead O'Connor reinventing herself time after time: angry rock singer, priest, searcher for a husband in Lisdoonvara.

Her outburst on Twitter, saying that she wants to go to heaven, suggest that all of these reinventions of Sinead O'Connor were not for fun or publicity but desperate attempts to find stability in her life. So far, it seems, these attempts have not worked. So let's take this seriously -- let's cut out the sneering and let her know we want Sinead O'Connor, whoever and whatever she is, to be with us for a long time to come.

Padraig O'Morain is accredited as a counsellor by the Irish Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy