This week sees another high profile suicide, this time a Fine Gael minister, Shane McEntee. The picture shown is of the Minister with his mum. This poor woman, who was obviously loved by her son, is now left without him and with no explanations, only a ton of unanswered questions.
By all accounts Minister McEntee was a nice man and cared deeply for his constituents, a rarity in Irish Government, it seems. Most of the papers are running with the story that he was upset about some online abuse, which he received after a recent throwaway comment he made. Cyber abuse and bullying have also been reported in relation to other Irish suicides recently. I think the media are completely missing the elephant in the room here. Minister McEntee was 56, he had been in Government since 2005, so I’m sure he was well used to different opinions and abuse thrown at him. He had been a farmer, a politician, a publican and was involved in the GAA, so he would certainly have been used to interacting with all walks of life and personalities. He managed to get to the age of 56 before he ended his life.
Today’s Independent states “The minister was said by friends to have been under stress at the time of his death. According to sources, he had agreed to see a doctor. Friends said that several issues appeared to be weighing on Mr McEntee in the weeks and days before his death, which is in accordance with expert opinion on suicide.”
I’ll tell you what I think happened: Minister McEntee was feeling under pressure and the cyber abuse wasn’t helping. He went to his doctor for help. The first line of treatment which uninformed doctors will dish out, is antidepressants, usually SSRIs. These drugs which double the suicide risk, can cause: Suicide, Violence, Mania, Worsening depression and of course Akathisia. Described as inner restlessness, Akathisia is the condition which can cause, among other things, a person to die by suicide. People who have survived this condition, have described the terrible inner turmoil, of which the only way out seems to be death as a welcome release, by whatever means. In a recent tweet, Professor Healy stated that ‘MENTAL HEALTH DRUGS CAUSE MORE SUICIDES THAN THEY PREVENT’. That’s CAUSE, in case you misunderstood!
Today the Daily Mail reported that the nurse in the radio ‘hoax call’, Jacintha Saldanha, was on antidepressants. I would have been surprised if she wasn’t. The majority of people who die by suicide are on these drugs. Are they working? Or are they causing these deaths? Despite the increasing number of prescriptions for antidepressants, the suicide rate is rocketing. Blame the recession, cyber bullying or as in Anna Byrne’s case, the fact that she wanted a girl and found she was carrying twin boys; IT’S THE PRESCRIBED DRUGS!
The sad thing is, if I am right and Minister McEntee had recently been prescribed these drugs, members of the Irish Government knew that these drugs are causing numerous Irish deaths. In May of this year, in a meeting with Kathleen Lynch, the Minister with responsibility for children and Mental Health, Professor Healy told her that these drugs are ‘the leading cause of death within the mental health field’. He said it’s not the condition which causes suicide but the drugs themselves as he had seen it firsthand in ‘healthy volunteers’. Dr Declan Gilsenan, forensic pathologist, told her that he ‘had more than a hunch’ that these drugs were causing suicides. Kathleen Lynch has done nothing! If I am right, she is, by her inaction, partly responsible for Minister McEntee’s death. Enda Kenny and James Reilly are equally responsible. I have e-mailed them both with my concerns; indeed Kathleen Lynch, after the meeting in May, said she would consult with James Reilly. The cosy relationship that the Irish Government have with the pharmaceutical industry seems to be holding their blinkers firmly in place.
How many more deaths by suicide will Ireland see before Enda Kenny, James Reilly and Kathleen Lynch will do the job they are paid to do, and protect Irish citizens instead of the pharmaceutical industry? The pharmaceutical companies have to admit, in a court of Law, that these drugs can cause suicide, yet will deny it to the public, as Lundbeck did in Shane’s case. These drugs come with a black box warning in America because of the risk of suicide, yet Irish people, due to the misinformation from Irish Psychiatry, are allowed to believe these ‘mind altering drugs’ are safe. Psychiatry’s Key Opinion Leaders (KOPs) will attend inquests to deny that these drugs can cause suicide (or violence); yet the same psychiatrists accept ‘honoraria’ (cash payments) from the same pharmaceutical companies who make the ‘implied’ drug, for speakers fees and other ‘work’. Yep, that’s an ‘independent expert’ opinion alright!
Rest in peace Minister McEntee and sincere condolences to his family.