Last night's Late Late Show may have had Ed Sheehan on, but it was an Irish couple who made the biggest impression.
Fiona and Tim Tuomey are the parents of 11-year-old Milly Tuomey, who tragically took her own life in 2016 - just weeks after posting on Instagram that she had picked the day of her death.
Last month the coroner's office returned a verdict of suicide at the inquest into Milly's death. Milly's parents had been alerted to her Instagram post by her elder sister and the school, and they took her to see a GP who recommended Milly see a clinical psychologist at An Cuan, a private counselling and psychotherapy clinic.
The family made an appointment but the psychologist was no longer taking patients, and Milly was assigned to an Art Therapist who was not qualified to deal with the kind of help Milly needed.
Fiona and Tim bravely talked about their experience of Milly's death to try to raise awareness
“The main reason we wanted to come on and talk to people was to really get across the message that you don’t know. People think of depression as a big glaring sign across somebody’s forehead.
“That is not necessarily the case.”
“The main reason we wanted to come on and talk to people was to really get across the message that you don’t know. People think of depression as a big glaring sign across somebody’s forehead... That is not necessarily the case” – Fiona Tuomey #latelate pic.twitter.com/uEvIgQesKg
— The Late Late Show (@RTELateLateShow) December 15, 2017
Their interview had viewers in tears as they spoke of Milly and remembered her as a "unique character" who was funny and mischievous
“We had a conversation and had a chat with her to try and find out was there something behind it, was it serious, was it looking for attention,” Fiona said.
“There’s no preparation for something like that. She didn’t dismiss it and she was a little evasive about it. That didn’t provide me with assurance one way or the other. I didn’t know what to make of it.”
#LateLate I cried my eyes out watching that interview Milly's parents so brave and so much respect to them utterly heartbreaking to happen x
— Aisling Prendergast (@Aislingp93) December 16, 2017
Heartbroken for these amazing, strong parents tonight on the #LateLate. Put me in my place worrying about christmas. I sat with my 13 year old and watched it. Really opened up an amazing conversation between us. Hopefully i as a parent have learned a lot tonight.
— annette phillips (@anicoconor) December 16, 2017
I sincerely hope our entire government takes note of the uproar tonight’s #latelate justifiably makes over the lack of MH services and resources to families in need. Enough is enough. I’ve watched enough families broken #mentalhealth #children #timetoACT
— T (@codebluenursey) December 16, 2017
Fiona and Tim took the opportunity on The Late Late to ask people to sign this petition that calls for the establishment of a suicide prevention authority in Ireland, much like there is for road safety awareness.
If you have been affected by issues in this article you can avail of free, non-judgmental advice and help here or by calling:
- Samaritans 116 123
- Aware 1800 80 48 48 (depression, anxiety)
- Pieta House 1800 247 247 or email [email protected] (suicide, self-harm)
- Teen-Line Ireland 1800 833 634 (for ages 13 to 19)
- Childline 1800 66 66 66 (for under 18s)