Vigilance call on mental health of teenagers

Tue, Dec 4, 2012, 00:00

The mother of a Junior Cert student who died last June has called on parents to be extra vigilant over the mental health of their teenage children.

Caroline Winder was speaking after an inquest in Ennis into the death of her 15-year-old son days before he was due to sit his Junior Certificate.

The inquest heard William’s body was found on Sunday June 3rd.

Speaking after the inquest, Ms Winder said: “William was a very fun, very energetic boy but sometimes he took things just a little too seriously unfortunately ... He was a very sensitive boy, but he was a closed book and he probably didn’t think he needed help.

William’s death “was a complete shock” and there were “no warning signs. No one saw it coming. It was the last thing we would have expected.

“ . . . William had plans and he could see the future, but he also had quiet time. He must have been suffering from some depression and probably didn’t think he would pull through the Junior Cert.”

Communications

She said “having a happy house” is not enough. “You need to open the communications, get friends aware . . . Keep your eyes and ears open. If they are down over something, ask why. If they are quiet and withdrawn don’t let them stay up in their bedroom for three hours playing Playstation. Don’t let them go into a shell because it is very hard for them to get out.”

Ms Winder said depression in teenagers shouldn’t be a taboo subject and was “very common, especially boys, because they go through so many hormonal changes. That is what happened with William. He didn’t realise what was going on and if only he asked, but he never did.”

She and her husband, Mark, have established the William Winder Rainbow Foundation to increase awareness around youth issues and difficulties.

County coroner Isobel O’Dea returned an open verdict. The postmortem found that William died from asphyxia.

Ms O’Dea said: “I’m not satisfied beyond reasonable doubt that William intended to take his own life.

“I’m conscious of the fact that William was coming up to the Junior Cert exam and he may have felt under pressure on that.”