Mother begs for counselling to save suicidal son, 10

By Olivia Kelleher

The mother of a suicidal 10-year-old boy who is on the autistic spectrum has written an open letter to Health Minister Simon Harris asking him to allocate urgent counselling for her son so she can go to bed at night without being afraid of waking up to a tragedy.

The Cork mother says her son threw himself in front of a car two weeks ago, narrowly escaping injury. He has also threatened to jump out the bedroom window.

He was diagnosed with ASD when he was six and has been talking about suicide for a number of months.

File image.

She said he is in the system with the Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services CAHMS service and is in a mainstream school, but that his behaviour is escalating. He lashes out physically in the home arising out of his frustration and suffers from insomnia that often sees him go to school on less than two hours’ sleep.

The woman has appealed to Mr Harris to intervene immediately to provide counselling for her son as she says he does not understand the finality of suicide.

“I can’t go to sleep at night until he is asleep because I am afraid of what I will wake up to in the morning,” she said.

He does self-harm. He is vocal about what he wants to do and how he wants to do it. He bangs his head off a wall. He breaks things in his room. That’s OK. They can be replaced. But my son can’t be replaced.

The 29-year-old says when the boy was younger, she was able to promise him that “Mammy can make things OK”.

Now, though, she says she feels powerless.

“I can’t make it OK any more,” she said. “I am powerless as a safety net. There is no counselling being provided. The school are taking it seriously. Everyone is doing the best they can.”

The desperate mother has sent the open letter to Mr Harris and has also posted it on her Facebook page. She has implored other parents in similar situations to come forward in solidarity with her.

“I am hoping that other mothers will voice their life.,” she said. “If people can protest for water why can’t we protest for our children?

“I am not the only mother up crying because my son doesn’t want to be here.”

She fears her son will be used as the example of what happens when things are left too late and has called on the Department of Health to “pull the finger out now” to avoid causing her family irreparable harm. She also spoke to the Neil Prendeville show on Cork’s Red FM.

In a statement, the Department of Health said a number of initiatives are being undertaken to address the waiting times for children and young people with disabilities to access services and assessment.

The statement said disability services are engaged in a major reconfiguration of therapy resources for children with disabilities into multi-disciplinary geographically-based teams. The statement added that funding for additional therapy posts was secured as part of Budget 2019.

“These additional posts, along with the reconfiguration of services and other innovative approaches will have a significant positive impact on waiting times for assessment and therapy service delivery over the course of the next year.”

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