Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Website recalls Wexford drownings in bid to raise suicide awareness

A MEMORIAL website highlighting the drowning of a young mother and her two children has been set up in a bid to raise awareness around suicide prevention.

Sharon Grace, 28, and her daughters, four-year-old Mikahla and Abby, aged three, died in a drowning off Kaats Strand in Wexford on April 16, 2005.

An inquest held 17 months later heard Ms Grace and her daughters took a taxi from their Barntown home to Wexford.

They went into Ely Hospital where Ms Grace asked the receptionist if there was a social worker on duty. She had been estranged from her husband, Barry, for a number of months.

Ms Grace was told the social worker was only available Monday to Friday. The HSE was heavily criticised for not providing an out-of-hours service when their deaths made national and international media headlines.

No such service has still been set-up by the HSE.

She then asked for an emergency number and the receptionist offered to ring Wexford General Hospital. Ms Grace declined the offer and left.

The following morning the three bodies were found close to shore on nearby Kaats Strand. 

The website,, is run in conjunction with 1Life which has been established by Console, a registered charity supporting and helping people bereaved through suicide, to meet the need for a dedicated 24/7 national suicide prevention helpline.

This new helpline is for anyone in suicidal distress. Professional counsellors and volunteers respond to calls seven days a week to support callers in need of help.

In addition to listening and providing support, 1Life also provides a professional suicide intervention service, and can facilitate referrals to a wide network of support services throughout Ireland and will intervene directly in emergency cases.