'Beautiful girls don’t eat': Girl, 11, who was unhappy with her looks wrote the date she wanted to die in a haunting Instagram diary shortly before taking her own life

  • Milly Tuomey, aged 11, died on January 4 2016 after posting on Instagram
  • Inquest heard how the child was unhappy with her looks and appearance?
  • She was referred for mental health services but parents were told psychologist was no longer taking patients ?

Pictured: Milly Tuomey, aged 11

Pictured: Milly Tuomey, aged 11

An 11-year-old girl who was unhappy with her physical appearance wrote on her Instagram account of how she wanted to die shortly before taking her own life.

The inquest for Milly Tuomey heard yesterday that her parents were alerted to the post by her elder sister and her school and they took Milly to see their GP.

During this visit Milly expressed a death wish. She spoke about thoughts of self harm and said she had been unhappy with her physical appearance for a number of years.

Her GP recommended she see a clinical psychologist at An Cuan, a private counselling and psychotherapy clinic. Milly’s parents, Fiona and Tim, made an appointment but the psychologist was no longer taking patients.

Milly, from Templeogue in Dublin 6, was then assigned to an art therapist, who was not qualified to make clinical assessments, the inquest heard.

The child began a series of weekly appointments on November 24, 2015 where she was encouraged to explore her emotions through verbal and visual means.

After Milly’s first visit, the therapist advised Fiona Tuomey to make an appointment with the HSE’s Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services.

An appointment was made for January 30, 2016, but this was brought forward after Mrs Tuomey found a ‘suicide diary’ along with medication indicating an attempt at self harm under her daughter’s bed.

‘She’d cut herself and written in biro on herself, “beautiful girls don’t eat”,’ Mrs Tuomey told Dublin Coroner’s Court.

Milly, from Templeogue in Dublin 6, was then assigned to an art therapist, who was not qualified to make clinical assessments, the inquest heard

Milly, from Templeogue in Dublin 6, was then assigned to an art therapist, who was not qualified to make clinical assessments, the inquest heard

‘We were terrified. We had no experience of this and no idea what to do,’ she said.

The family was advised to go to their local Emergency Department if any concerns arose over Christmas or out of hours.

The court heard that on November 3, 2015 Milly posted on her Instagram to hundreds of friends that she wanted to die on a certain date.

Then, on January 1, 2016, the family ate dinner together and watched a film. That evening, Milly declared that she was bored and left the room.

She was found moments later in a critical condition and emergency services were called. She was rushed to Our Lady’s Children’s Hospital where she died on January 4.

Coroner Dr Myra Cullinane yesterday returned a verdict of suicide at her inquest.

Irish children as young as seven have expressed suicidal ideation, psychiatrist Dr Antoinette D’Alton told the coroner’s court.

‘Years ago this would have been unimaginable. Now suicidal ideation is increasing in children as young as seven. There is a care pathway but it is under- resourced,’ Dr D’Alton said.

Ireland currently ranks fifth in Europe in cases of suicide in the ten to 14 age group.?

The past decade has seen a ‘step by step increase’ in instances of non-fatal self-harm among the same age group, according to director of research at the National Suicide Research Foundation, Professor Ella Arensman.

Dr Cullinane commended the Tuomeys for their decision to donate their little girl’s organs.

The coroner noted comments from experts who stated further resources were required for child and adolescent mental health services, and recommended the provision of information to support parents and families while they wait to be seen by services.

Milly was loving and greatly loved, fit, healthy, connected, engaged and talented

In a statement after the inquest, Milly’s parents Fiona and Tim said they were traumatised by the tragedy.

‘Milly was loving and greatly loved, fit, healthy, connected, engaged and talented,’ they said.

‘When we discovered, out of the blue, that our child had told her friends on Instagram that she had chosen the day she would die, we couldn’t believe it. We did not know what to do,’ they said.

The family said that they discovered there are no clinical protocols for when a child has a mental health crisis.

‘In 21st-century Ireland this is simply not acceptable,’ they said.

They had hopes and dreams for their daughter, and Milly had hopes and dreams for herself, they said.

In an excerpt from her diary, Milly told how she hoped to be a ‘famous doctor’, get married and have children.

‘When I am 23 I would like to have my first baby and when I’m 24 my second baby. If I have two girls I want to call them Vanessa and Grace Tuomey,’ she wrote.?

  • For confidential support call the Samaritans on 116123 or visit a local Samaritans branch, see www.samaritans.org?for details.

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