Northern Ireland news

Candlelight vigil to take place at Stormont to remember 'lost loved ones to mental health, addiction and suicide'

Jack Brennan (23), from west Belfast, who died in January following a battle with drug addiction
Marie Louise McConville

The family of a west Belfast man who died following a battle with drug addiction are to hold a candlelight vigil at Stormont to remember and honour "lost loved ones to mental health, addiction and suicide".

The event, which will take place on Monday, December 13 at 6.45pm, has been organised by the family of Jack Brennan, who died in January.

The 23-year-old was found on the floor of his living room at his apartment on the Glen Road by his mother Lorraine.

The family were told that Jack’s organs had failed after taking drugs.

Since beginning at 15, Jack experimented with different types, including prescription drugs, before he moved on to cocaine and heroin.

When he was 18, after finding there was no drug rehabilitation help available in Northern Ireland, Jack’s family raised £15,000 for rehab in Essex. However, this was unsuccessful.

More money was found to send him for rehab in Liverpool and following this stint, Jack was clean for almost eight months.

However, he later returned to drugs when he came back to Belfast.

Following his death, Jack's mother launched a campaign calling on the Northern Ireland Executive to set up a service to treat mental health issues along with drug and alcohol addictions.

Speaking to the Irish News, she said: "I know Jack wanted help and would still be here if services were put in place to help ill people suffering with their mental health.

"The loss debilitates me in every aspect of my life. I have no words to describe this pain," she said.

"So many people need urgent help and there is no help. I want everyone to attend this vigil to respect and honour our people who have died".

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