The tragedy of the girl who hated the way she looked

An 11-year-old girl, who did not like the way she looked and took her own life, posted her intention to die on her Instagram account, writes Louise Roseingrave.

Milly Tuomey expressed a death wish to her GP and had cut herself. She also used biro to write “beautiful girls don’t eat” on herself.

The young girl from Templeogue in Dublin 6 died by suicide on January 4, 2016.

Milly Tuorney

Speaking after yesterday’s inquest, the child’s devastated parents, Fiona and Tim Tuomey, said: “Milly was loving and greatly loved, fit, healthy, connected, engaged and talented. 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.”

Dublin Coroner’s Court heard on November 3, 2015, Milly posted on Instagram to hundreds of friends about her intention to die on a certain date. Her parents were alerted by her elder sister and her school.

They took Milly to see their GP and during this visit, Milly expressed a death wish. She spoke about thoughts of self-harm and said she had been unhappy with her appearance for a number of years.

Her GP recommended she see a clinical psychologist at An Cuan, a private counselling and psychotherapy clinic. However, the psychologist was no longer taking patients. Milly was 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 Mrs Tuomey to make an appointment with the HSE’s Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS).

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’. We were terrified. We had no experience of this and no idea what to do,” Mrs Tuomey told the court.

The family was advised to go to their local emergency department if any concerns arose over Christmas or out of hours. On January 1, 2016, the family ate dinner together and watched a film. That evening, Milly declared she was bored and left the room. She was found moments later in a critical condition and emergency services were called. She died at Our Lady’s Children’s Hospital on January 4.

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

In their statement, the family said 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 had hopes and dreams for their daughter, and Milly had hopes and dreams for herself, they said. In 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.”


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