Northern Ireland news

Co Tyrone family call for more mental health funding following death of `generous and caring' brother

Jonathan Devlin, who was 42, was found at his Coalisland home on Monday
Marie Louise McConville

THE family of a Co Tyrone man who took his own life weeks after he was released from hospital following a previous suicide attempt have called for more funding for mental health services.

Jonathan Devlin was found at his home in Coalisland on Monday.

The 42-year-old, who laid wooden floors for a living, was discovered at Loughview Gardens in the town by his 74-year-old father, who had to force in the back door of the house to gain access.

Mr Devlin's family, who have been left devastated, told The Irish News that they feel their brother, who suffered with mental health difficulties for the past decade, had been "let down" by the NHS.

The Coalisland man's death came three weeks after he took an overdose at home and was taken by ambulance to Craigavon Area Hospital.

He was released the following day.

Lavinia Devlin said she believes the health service "could have done a lot more" for her brother, who was on a high dose of anti-depressants and pain relief for arthritis.

"Maybe kept him in somewhere, sectioned him or something," she said.

She described Jonathan as a "generous and caring person".

"He was witty," she said.

"He would have said things no-one else would have got away with. He was a real comedian. He was very good to me."

Brendan Devlin said when the family had not heard from his brother, their father went to his house.

He saw his van was there and "put the back door in".

Brendan said his death has "had a huge impact on the whole family".

"The big question is why - and we will never know. Jonathan left behind no explanation. It doesn't make any sense," he said.

"I know mental health services are overwhelmed but this is causing deaths. I just can't look at it any other way.

"We were told it is partly to do with the Troubles as well but it is moving on from the Troubles. There are other issues. More funding is needed for mental health services. That's like wishing for snow in August - we have no Executive. People are dying.

"It happens across the spectrum and it's devastating for families. If it can happen to Jonathan, it can happen to any of us. I really don't want to criticise anyone but I do feel he was let down."

In response, the Southern trust said: “We offer our condolences to the family at this very difficult time and we encourage them to contact us to discuss their concerns.

"We take all concerns about the quality of our care extremely seriously."

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