We had to take his bedroom door off because if he was out of sight he began self-harming very violently

You often hear about families who are affected by suicide through Pieta House. They talk about the suddenness of it and the fact that they didn’t even have a chance to help. But our experience was the opposite. We knew my brother-in-law was suicidal and he survived a number of attempts. He had a dual diagnosis of mental illness paired with addiction; he was a heavy drinker with severe depression and self-harmed. There are no services available for people with a dual diagnosis in Ireland, even though thousands of people are affected by it. He spent every minute of his life unhappy and wanting to die, but everything got worse after his father died. We had to take his bedroom door off because if he was out of sight he began self-harming very violently. We had a family group chat where we only discussed who is rostered to watch him 24-7. But even doing all this, we found him bleeding or totally unconscious many times. He started losing his mind, having hallucinations and he became very violent with everyone. He was in and out of the hospital about twelve times in the space of two months before he actually managed to take his life.

One night he ran out of the house into rocky woodlands out in Lucan, and his brother followed him and called the police, who knew him by name already. They caught him after a few hours and he was admitted to the psychiatric unit. A day later the hospital decided to discharge him without letting anyone know in the family. When we heard he got out, we were sure he was dead. We went looking for him and issued a missing person report, but he was only found two days later in a river. The crazy thing about the whole story is the number of times this person was discharged by psychotherapists and doctors saying there’s nothing they can do, even though he was extremely violent and very clearly suicidal. At one stage we were advised to make him homeless so he would have more access to services. Ireland is crying out for better mental health services for those in need.


– This post was highlighted by Pieta House, proudly supported by Electric Ireland.

Darkness Into Light is Pieta House’s flagship annual fundraising and awareness event. Wake Up and walk with us on Saturday 6th May and help Pieta House to promote suicide prevention and tackle the stigma that leads people to their doors. Register HERE!