The family of a 24-year-old Donegal musician who died by suicide five years ago has settled for €200,000 a High Court nervous shock action over his death.
The settlement is without an admission of liability.
At the time of his death, Alec Rea from Carndonagh, Co Donegal was a promising young musician who had the prospect of a record deal with an American producer on the horizon.
Approving the settlement, which includes the statutory solatium mental distress payment of €35,000, Mr Justice Kevin Cross said it was a very tragic case and the judge offered his sincere sympathy to the Rea family.
In a statement through their solicitor the Reas today described Alec as an exceptionally talented young musician.
Mental health difficulties
The family, it said wanted the message to go out that those with mental health difficulties should urgently get the help and support they need and families should be listened to and safeguards put in place to ensure adequate follow-up.
Sean Rea and Loren Rea Loren Rea of Priestown, Carndonagh, Co Donegal had sued the HSE for nervous shock over the death of their son on February 3rd, 2016.
It was claimed that Alec Rea in October 2015 had returned from a music festival where a US record producer had found his material to be impressive, and he was in great spirits. However, it is claimed on return to normal life he then went into a deep depression and lost all interest in music. Mr Rea had first presented with symptoms of depression in 2008 when he was 16 years old.
In December 2015, he was reviewed, and medication was prescribed for him. On January 5, 2016 he was reviewed again, and it is claimed admitted to the mental health unit of Letterkenny General Hospital for a full psychiatric assessment and treatment.
A medic reviewed his prescription and referred Alec Rea to a social worker at the mental health services team with a view to supporting Mr Rea /at home and engaging him in recreational and training opportunities.
On January 22, 2016, his mother was concerned about him and phoned the mental health services.
Mr Rea was seen by a social worker on January 29th, 2016. It is claimed that Alec’s mother after January 26th contacted Buncrana Mental Health Services on a daily basis and reiterated the family’s grave concern in relation to Alec if he was not assessed and treated soon.
An appointment it was claimed was offered for February 2nd, but was cancelled in a phone call that morning and the family told they would be contacted with a new appointment date.
Following the appointment cancellation, it was claimed Alec spent the rest of the day in his bedroom alone and audibly upset.
The next day, Alec died by suicide. It is claimed that on February 3rd a social worker had spoken to a doctor on the mental health services team and a new appointment for February 9th was issued, which came out to the Rea family a few days later.
It was claimed there was an alleged failure to have regard to the phone calls by Alec’s mother and there was an alleged failure to provide a reasonable mental health service to Mr Rea.
Both parents claimed they were suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder as a result of the death of their son.