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Dublin: 14 °C Tuesday 24 September, 2019
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Mother of 11-year-old who took her own life set up suicide support group

Milly Tuomey posted on Instagram to hundreds of friends of her intention to die on a certain date.

Image: Family handout

THE MOTHER OF 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.

Dublin Coroner’s Court heard that on 3 November 2015 Milly posted on Instagram to hundreds of friends of her intention to die on a certain date.

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.

Warning signs

The family did everything in their power to help Milly after they became aware of her Instagram post on 3 November 2015.

“We spoke with her and with her school and we took her to her GP.” The family said that they felt that it should be obligatory for all Irish GPs to be “specifically trained in identifying the recognised red flags associated with suicidal risk”.

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 1 January 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.

Annoyed

On the night of 1 January, 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 4 January.

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.

Healing Untold Grief support group can be found here.

If you need to talk, contact:

  • Samaritans 116 123 or email jo@samaritans.org
  • Aware 1800 80 48 48 (depression, anxiety)
  • Pieta House 1800 247 247 or email mary@pieta.ie (suicide, self-harm)
  • Teen-Line Ireland 1800 833 634 (for ages 13 to 19)
  • Childline 1800 66 66 66 (for under 18s)

Read: After their mother died by suicide, these Irish brothers are now helping Australians speak out

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About the author:

Louise Roseingrave

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