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Widow calls for mental health changes to protect children

Una Butler’s husband took his own life in 2010 after killing their two young daughters.

A WOMAN WHOSE husband killed their two young daughters before taking his own life has called for a change in legislation to include families in treatment of those suffering from mental health issues and to protect children.

Speaking on RTE’s Morning Ireland today, Butler said it would benefit both the medical professionals and the patient if it were mandatory for personnel to involve partners and families and prevent reoccurring tragedies.

In 2010 her husband John who suffered from depression killed their six and two-year-old daughters Zoe and Ella before taking his own life. She said the welfare of children should be “paramount when someone is living under the same roof as somebody suffering with mental health”.

Butler called on the government to change legislation to introduce risk assessments to be made on families and children on mental health patients.

“It needs to be set in stone for the welfare of children that they have to be involved in the treatment”, she said. “Children don’t have a voice when they’re so small and spouses should have to speak on their behalf.”

“I’m waking up to a living nightmare every day and I don’t want anyone else to have to wake up to what I have to every day of the week. ”

Responding to the woman’s call for a change in legislation, Minister of State for Mental Health told Morning Ireland it is “an extraordinarily difficult area” especially when there are no indications that children are at risk.

“If there’s an issue that comes up in treatment that indicates that children are at risk, I don’t believe that there is a clinician in the country that wouldn’t intervene or wouldn’t take steps to ensure that those children would be made safe,” she said.

However she added that caution must be taken in changing legislations around mental health to ensure that further barriers to people seeking help are not put in their way.

“All we can do is ensure that issues that can be dealt with will be dealt with.”

Read:Almost one third of mothers in social housing show signs of depression>
TD raises questions over money ring-fenced for mental health>

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