Mother of drowned teenager ‘appalled’ at local mental health services
‘We were left to our own devices and no matter how much we tried to support her, we are now experiencing the greatest dread of all.’
The mother of Elisha Gault (14) has criticised local child and adolescent mental health services.
The mother of a teenage Tipperary girl whose body was was found in the River Suir last month has criticised local child and adolescent mental health services.
Elisha Gault (14) was last seen alive at Dillon Bridge in Carrick-on-Suir Co Tipperary on the night of St Patrick’s Day last. Her body was found in the river by search and rescue helicopter crew members taking part in a multi-agency search which had been underway for over a week after she was reported missing by her family.
Gráinne Gault has said on her Facebook page it was “appalling that Elisha was dismissed from Clonmel Community Child and Adolescent Psychiatry Services after one appointment and having made a serious attempt to end her life.”
Last summer, she said, Elisha had “locked herself in a bathroom airing cupboard after taking paracetamol and drinking bleach on the back of a cyber bullying incident.”
She and her parents attended an emergency appointment with the psychiatric services on June 1st last year and “were then sent home to try and cope without direction other than to remove medication from the home and told a follow-up appointment would be made.” It took place two weeks later, when “they determined Elisha was not in need of their services.”
The family “tried desperately to cope with the aftermath. Over the course of the last nine months we saw really huge changes in Elisha’s behaviour and attitude for the better.” However “a series of events led to Elisha leaving home on St Patrick’s night, never to be seen again alive.”
Ms Gault said “I am a mother who has lived in fear of the unknown for so long. I have had to watch pain and suffering and even when we presented with a a teen who had made a serious suicide attempt were told she didn’t fit the profile.
“We were left to our own devices and no matter how much love and care we had for our daughter and how much we tried to support her, we are now experiencing the greatest dread of all.”
On May 12th Ms Gault is to take part in the annual dawn Pieta House ‘Darkness into Light’ walk, at venues across Ireland, to highlight suicide prevention. She would be “walking in memory of Elisha”, she said.
She was “taking to the streets” Ms Gault said, to highlight “the failings within the mental health system and I will be highlighting how bullying can affect another human being.”
Bullying was “not just about strangers attacking you, it can be those closest to you.” Now more than ever, “teenagers and younger kids especially are under immense pressure to fit in.”Apps that started out to be “portals for sociability are becoming the opposite for some,” she said.
It was now “easier to attack and bully someone when you are not face to face and can’t see the damage you are causing another human being.” Words “can be very damaging, those that cut the deepest are ones said by those closest to us. How we treat each other has got to change. We need to take more responsibility with how we express our emotions to each other.”
What was said and done “in quick response to an emotionally heightened situation can have detrimental effects and unfortunately in some cases a deadly outcome,” she said.
If you are affected by any of the issues raised, you can contact: Pieta House at 1800-247247, or Samaritans by telephoning 116123 for free, texting 087-2609090 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org