Newspaper and internet articles, psychiatry, Random

Two more young people dead; victims of a broken system?

Kieran and AlexandraSadly today’s newspapers report that a body recovered from the River Foyle has been identified as missing Dublin teenager Kieran McKeon. He was 18 years old.

Last March (13th) Kieran travelled to Derry with his friend Alexandra O’Brien (21) and checked into a nearby hotel. The following day some of Alexandra’s belongings were found on a bridge over the River Foyle. Following the recovery of her body, the PSNI also feared for Kieran’s safety. It was largely believed that they had both entered the water together from the Foyle Bridge. Tragically Kieran’s body was recovered on Thursday and identified today.

The Irish Times reported in March: “Alexandra and Kieran were both day patients at St John of God’s, which specialises in treating people with mental health problems. In their original missing-person description of Ms O’Brien, the PSNI described her as “vulnerable.”

Now, considering they were both patients of St John of God hospital, there is no doubt that they were medicated. The Irish ‘medical model’ did not save these two young people and in my humble opinion, probably caused or at least contributed to their deaths. Yes young people can be vulnerable. Yes people die by suicide without being medicated BUT young people are far more susceptible to the adverse-effects of psychiatric drugs. Were these young people or their families warned of the doubling of the suicide risk? Were they told that these drugs were not recommended for young people, or that the EU warning on these drugs was upped to under 25s because of the suicide risk? I have first hand experience of Irish Psychiatrists denying that these drugs can cause suicide. They are wrong! The US has a black-box warning on these drugs because of the serious repercussions, particularly in young people.

FDA confirms risks of antidepressants.

Baum Hedlund, A cure worse than the disease.

Here is a 1991 you-tube video on the dangers of SSRIs; listen to these people’s stories if you dare/care. Despite this FDA hearing, it was another 13 years (2004) before they finally put a black-box warning in place for Under 18s. It took another 3 years (2007) before the US upped the warning to Under 24s; the EU followed suit upping the suicide warning to U25s. Yet the EU and the Irish Medicines Board declined to put a black-box warning on the same drugs for fear that it would “stop people from taking drugs that were perfectly suited to them”. Never mind the poor people who lost their lives by taking them!

Sadly this still hasn’t stopped uninformed doctors from medicating young people. It still hasn’t stopped suicide awareness groups from accepting funding from the makers of drugs which cause suicide; you know who you are. Is it any wonder when there are psychiatrists, like Dr Moosajee Bhamjee on Newstalk radio, who said that the suicide warnings were only put in place because of ‘the media and other issues’. Then again, the person who could have acted on this is Minister Kathleen Lynch. Remember Professor Healy and Declan Gilsenan’s meeting with her? David Healy told her that these drugs are the leading cause of death within the mental health field. Dr Gilsenan told her he had serious concerns that these drugs were causing people to kill themselves. Has she done anything? Yet again, NO! Shame on her.



My Sister, My Son and An Irish Coincidence.

Shane and his aunt... Pub quiz May 2009Ireland is a fairly small incestuous country, notoriously resistant to change and outside influence. Our leading ‘experts’ are given free rein to spout whatever gospel they wish, largely uncontested, much like the erroneous messages the catholic church spouted not so long ago. Look how that ended for our ‘land of saints and scholars’ (sorry mam!).

This week, despite saying in my last post that I was done arguing, I ended up doing just that. I spoke on Newstalk radio along with Prof Healy and a highly indignant Dr Moosajee Bhamjee (the same Dr Bhamjee who wanted to put Lithium in our water). Okay, maybe I’m biased here; you can make up your own mind by accessing the recording via the newstalk picture below:

The Right Hook

Getting back to the incestuous reference, it seems that being a small country, most of us will have come into contact with someone who happens to have worked with, be related to, was married to, divorced by, or was a neighbour to someone else that we both knew. Now how’s this for a coincidence….

The latter radio discussion came about after I sent an e-mail to the show expressing my concerns over the resident expert Dr Ciara Kelly and her portrayal that SSRI antidepressants were, and I quote “the drugs themselves are not dangerous, they’re not addictive, they’re not even dangerous at high levels of overdose.” She also said, regarding Niamh Drohan’s investigation into over-prescribing (see last 2 posts here and here), that the 7 doctors did the right thing in prescribing antidepressants for a first time patient with mild depression.

Dr Ciara Kelly

Referring to the toxicity of SSRIs, George asked Dr Kelly: “What would happen if I took 55 of them (antidepressants) with my cup of tea?” Doctor Kelly answeredOne of the reasons that the SSRI tablets are as popular as they are, is that compared to older type of antidepressants, is that they are safer in overdose. So there are not the same levels as Cardio Toxicity …”. OH GOD, seriously, was I supposed to ignore that?

Anyway back to the coincidence; in 2011 my sister, whom I wrote about before here, was very unhappy about going back to work. She had just had a new baby and was besotted by her, but as needs must, needed to return to her job in the bank. The thoughts of leaving her daughter filled her with dread and she was feeling terribly unhappy. She was also dealing with the recent horrific death of her much-loved nephew Shane. She dispatched herself off to the local doctor who promptly, after about 10 minutes, told her she needed to go on antidepressants. My sister refused, explaining what had happened to Shane, her nephew, and the terrible consequences because of these drugs. Alas, to no avail; the doctor seemed to ignore her protestations and insisted that she needed antidepressants. As she was leaving my sister asked the doctor if she thought she “would get better?” The doctor’s response was.. “Not without the tablets!” My sister who politely and tearfully refused, left without a prescription, feeling much worse than she had when she went in. For my sister, who is a big softie and nothing like me, and who would never argue with anyone (husband not included), making a stand such as this would have been a huge thing for her to do.

She duly went back to work and was back to her old cheery self soon afterwards. Did I say she lives in Greystones, where Dr Kelly practices? You can see where this is going? Absolutely! I discovered last night that Dr Kelly is the very same doctor who told my sister she wouldn’t get better without taking antidepressants. You were wrong AGAIN Dr Kelly. By the way, I’m not singling out Dr Kelly; she is doing what most other GPs are probably doing. It doesn’t follow though, that the practice of going against the recommended guidelines is good practice, even if they’re all doing it. It’s sad though that Dr Kelly, instead of listening to the testimony of her patient, Shane’s aunt, instead chose to believe the ‘Irish Psychiatry’ stance that antidepressants can ‘do no harm’.

Information for the concerned doctor:

Toxicology tests are widely under-reported mostly due to the cost factor. This is where Coroners and families need to step up to the plate, otherwise uninformed doctor’s will still think these drugs are safe. Here are some victims who have died by a safe ‘SSRI only’ overdose, courtesy of Brian at ‘AntiDepAware‘.

Citalopram/Cipramil/Celexa:  Karen Gloster (2005), Barbara BerryDeborah Owens (2006), Rhian Evans (2007), Rodney Harrop (2008), Philip Bromley (2009), Belinda KellyMichael MillerNatalie CashinSusan Mealing (2010), Patrick Carroll (2011), Malcolm AverissRobert Lennon (2012)

Fluoxetine/Prozac: Donna ChaseMark Cain (2003), Christine ByrneDianne Pickersgill (2008)

Sertraline/Zoloft: Dale Pashley (2007), Brian Elder (2010), Afsheen Khan (2011)



Newspaper and internet articles, psychiatry

Wexford suicide; what is being done?

On Thursday (8thDec), eight inquests were performed in the Wexford Coroner’s Court. Six of these Inquests involved suicide.

I would like to know what is being done about this, is it just being accepted? Did any of our (extremely well paid) ‘esteemed’ experts take the opportunity to figure out if there was a common denominator here? Were any or all of these victims on medication with known suicidal side-effects, usually antidepressants? Did any of our ‘top’ experts on suicidology use this opportunity to get to the underlying cause? I realise that suicide is a very sensitive subject and not all families want (or are able) to talk about the suicide of family members, but some, like my family will want to know the reasons behind it.

I have previously spoken to a person from the central statistics office who told me that there are no statistics held for suicide victims and the medication they were on at the time of their death. This is done in other countries, so why not here? A Swedish writer, Janne Larrson, has written a paper on the subject. Here.

Wexford has had a big problem with suicide for a number of years; in 2005 the Irish Independent reported that Wexford had the second highest rate of suicide in the country.

I personally spoke to a pathologist, whose name I won’t mention, who said, that in the last 5 autopsies that he has performed on suicide victims, 4 had been recently introduced to an ssri antidepressant. His opinion is that there is a big problem in this country with these drugs. He also said that after one particular Inquest, he was approached by one of Irelands ‘leading’ psychiatrists who said that if he continued to say what he was saying, he would be doing Irish Psychiatry out of their jobs.

For the benefit of people in countries not originally colonized by England, who have no idea what an inquest is; A Coroner conducts an inquest (in public) into any violent, suspicious or unexplained death. The purpose of an Inquest is to determine ‘who, how, when and where’ a person has died. In Ireland, Inquests are regulated by The Coroners Act 1962.

A letter published coincidently on Thurs 8th, in the Irish Times Letter section prompted, I think, by Dr Moosajee Bhamjee’s proposal to add lithium to Irish drinking water in a bid to lower the suicide rate (more medication, did he ever hear of informed consent), gives his opinion on psychiatry and their practice of medicating for human distress!

A chara, – If any branch of medicine thinks it can medicate its way out of a “problem”, it is psychiatry. Irrespective of attacks on human and constitutional rights (letters, passim) the idea of putting lithium into drinking water is flippant and fanciful.

While depressive symptoms arising out of adverse social conditions might be “managed” this way, the causes – unemployment, poverty, deprivation, negative equity – remain untouched. However, if psychiatrists could prescribe money in the way the Government “prescribed” it for the banks and bondholders . . . – Is mise,


Lecturer in Psychiatric Nursing,

School of Nursing and


Trinity College Dublin,

D’Olier Street, Dublin 2.