Suicide: Are Old Media or New Media to Blame?

January, 30, 2019 | 39 Comments


  1. Facebook `willing to change everything´ to tackle suicide posts, says Clegg

    “The race is really on to make sure that Molly’s dad feels that the responsibility which is incumbent on Instagram and Facebook is now being properly taken up, and one of the things in this new role that I hope to do is to accelerate that process.”

    Ewan Davies (Ewan Davies who made that infamous interview with Sir Andrew Witty at Chatham House) included this interview on PM.

    Can Nick Clegg help Facebook grow up?

    • In this context, Sir Nick sounds like an interview with Satan himself. He might be the person to contact if anyone has any access but these issues have been laid out in front of one of his ex-colleagues in British politics, Norman Lamb, who has had family injured by the mental health system but Mr Lamb has shown absolutely no interest in picking the problem up – even though he once had access to the the department of health bureaucracy.

      Will Facebook do everything possible to ensure responsible coverage of these issues? What would that mean – ensuring no access to posts or talks on the risks of treatment?


      • Chris Prendergast – did you go on a fishing expedition or target just David Healy ? There are many organisations and individuals which are alerting the public by now. You might bear in mind that he has informed countless numbers of young people and adults about the Rxisks of suicide over past decades including at the Welsh Assembly – he is not some rebel pursuing a cause – he is a an experienced pharmacist and psychiatrist who know that the truth is being with held from the public – at does it some cost to himself. There are few like him who will not allow the vulnerable to be sacrificed who will speak out – if you care to do another trawl there are thousands of people who have been harmed by mental health ‘treatments’ who are speaking out themselves – check out Rxisk blog as well. David Healy is a compassionate doctor who will not be bullied into withdrawing information as you incredibly suggest.

        It is suspicious that several blogs have been blocked in the past few days and all relating to the issue Chris P has concerns about. Has the ex leader of the disgraced liberal party notorious for wheeling dealing ,had any involvement in attempting to take blogs down? He doesn’t understand the word ethical or even ‘liberal’ if he is working for facebook.

        PAPYRUS is a pretty savvy organisation (see website). They encourage people to follow them – on social media no less! D H would never want to close down Papyrus blogs or any other I am sure!

        Head Office for Papyrus:-

        Royal College of Emergency Medicine
        7-9 Bream,s Building
        London EC4A 1DT
        we can make our own assumptions which may or may not be right of course.,Are they involved with your campaigns Chris ?

  2. The Risks of Treatment is our No.1 priority.

    It seems to get worse, not better.

    Sir Nick Clegg, knows nothing about drugs, it is not his field or his bag.
    He got the top job at Facebook because of his political acumen, his siredom, his clean family image.

    The Royal Family for all their lamentations, know nothing about drugs, heads together can only lead to more drugs.

    The UK media know nothing about drugs despite writing about drugs for aeons.

    The RCP and the RCGP know nothing about drugs, despite pretending that they do.

    It is all credit to RxISK with hundreds of lived experience, all true to tell.

    The media go round and round in circles without ever getting off the ground.
    The Daily Mail Campaign to stop overprescribing stopped as suddenly as it started.

    One woman who has written more press than most is Sarah Boseley, The Guardian Health Editor who has written about Paroxetine, mostly during the early years. She is a bastion of knowledge.
    When I phoned her around 2003, she was crisp, curt, unemotional and stark. I can’t help you she said. She continued to write many an article on Paroxetine.

    You could be forgiven for not feeling totally let down by every single media outlet.

    Even Matthew Herper and Ed Silverman stopped short of writing less than they probably knew or know.

    There is a fear in the air.

    A distaste for grimy stories, a lack of courage, one wrong word somewhere and kaput to your place which at the moment is safe and secure.

    Even Peter Hitchens flirts with his opinions, he could say more than he does, but, he too, has a bit of a reputation as a political rebel, and although he has done much, he picks and chooses his moments of fervour.

    They all know the devastation of harms, the few scattered Top Dogs know the score, each from a different country and yet, it is really quite hideous that the Agenda has almost been set in stone and it is no consolation to realise how many cowards are running this no-show of hands..

    What has happened to people to run so scared of facing up, why has it been left to the Kristinas, Katinkas, Leonies of this world to shout-out at probably great personal cost?

    Is it laziness, apathy, woolly dog-eared thinking that has got us to this point of almost no return?

  3. A charity addressing the problem of young people committing suicide which steadfastly refuses to look in the direction of medication while scapegoating social media (without evidence) is shall we say an anomaly. The main benefactors of the charity since first annual report in 2014 seems to be BBC Children in Need and the Monument Trust which seems to disburse money to all sorts of things since it was set up by the Sainsbury family in 1965, though they don’t seem to have anything to do visibly with its administration.

    I am sure if they went through the BBC content they could find all sorts of things that they could fix on – I can think of several dramas which I am ashamed I watched in the last year – but all of this seems infantile. MacMafia, Collateral – I am sure there must have been some in The Bridge. And what about Killing Eve, which glamorises violence to almost unprecedented levels? Is it all safe because it is the British B…… Corporation.

  4. There was at least one suicide in Killing Eve, when the character Anna (I think) has the chance to shoot her former student and lover, the assassin Villanelle, she shoots herself instead. I wonder how many opera broadcasts in the last year have involved suicide? I believe the Monument Trust fund opera as well, but perhaps none involving suicide (who knows?). In Les Misérables – which is the latest BBC drama – Éponine and Javert commit suicide. Time to go and expurgate Shakespeare, no more Antony and Cleopatra, Othello, Macbeth, Titus Andronicus, Romeo and Juliet, Julius Caesar…

    So, why are Papyrus coming after David?

  5. This post is really on the money, although I suspect many will take it out of context, such seems to be the norm these days, especially on Twitter.

    As a writer, I actually found myself worrying about how a sentence or paragraph may be cherry-picked to fulfil the needs of those who oppose me and my work. It was futile as almost anything that anyone writes can be twisted.

    There’s one side of the camp that believes Facebook, Twitter, Instagram etc, actually reduces suicides because people can get to talk with strangers in similar situations, or people that have previously been knocking on doors of despair.

    Google is more powerful than any social media website, it is powerful because, in essence, we, the public, have created it by answering questions in forums or writing blogs or opinion pieces. All Google does is collect what people write then offer a solution of those writing to a query.

    Regarding suicide and the methods used, these can easily be researched on Google or even the Dark Web.

    In the main, social media is an easy medium for the bully. Bullies, or rather their words, can tip people over the edge – it’s not the fault of the social media websites, it’s the bully and, to an extent, those who watch from the sidelines without intervening.

    This has been going on for many years since the invention of the WWW, first in newsgroups, later in Yahoo Groups – we’ve now advanced to bigger ‘cafes’ with more voyeurs than ever before.

    The Instagram story is sad indeed, but no less sad than the mother or father who found their child dead after previously being told the medication will help save their lives, even though there is absolutely no evidence to this claim – in fact, the opposite shows more evidence.

    Spot on post, David!

    • My son died from suicide (hanging) caused by a side effect of Champix (Chantix), verified by the Queensland Coroner. I am constantly amazed that we allow medications with such horrendous side effects to be given to our young people without warnings. Also, this story was published in the Guardian and was handled with great care and empathy!

  6. A five-star irony that should make the folks at Papyrus stop and think:

    BBC’s report on MR’s suicide and the role of social media included a 7-minute video that displayed a bunch of the disturbing Instagram sites and images her dad found on her Instagram account after her death. Papyrus is urging everyone to stop what they are doing and pay attention.

    Already at least one person has replied that BBC News itself acted irresponsibly — by reproducing these images and allowing more folks to see them! She asked if Papyrus agreed.

    No reply so far. But another Tweeter noted that you couldn’t alert parents to the problem any other way. That’s exactly the problem: Stifling any discussion of suicide also stifles our ability to get to grips with the problem — and find solutions.

    And stifling any mention of the possibility that meds are causing the suicidal thoughts, as Samaritans (and most US newspapers) do, is deadly. Stewart Dolin and Dr. Ben Shaffer are just two of the people profiled on this blog that might be alive today if they had been alerted to that possibility. Ironically, both were highly educated, successful middle-aged men, who knew enough to trust only responsible newspapers and top-line respected charities — not hysterical little websites. So they heard nothing …

  7. A tragic tale indeed – one which we’ve read and re-read over the past couple of weeks. Understandably, the father wishes to find a reason and someone to blame for the suffering which the family have suffered. Also understandable is the fact that ‘the powers that be’ behind the social media site will turn to Papyrus ( for example) in THEIR quest to find someone to blame. Papyrus, in turn, will want to prove that they are very thorough in their care of young people…….so, they start trawling through whatever they can set their sights upon, looking for instances where they can ‘clean up’ the whole system. And so they get to David’s blogs? Thank goodness that he is strong enough, not only to stand up to them, but to give back the truth that lies hidden in all this mess. As far as I know, we have no proof that this young girl was on medication – but we DO know that many who were, have also taken their own lives. Every single life lost, counts – saving by educating of the possible problems caused by ADs etc. is the only way forward if we truly believe that statement. MIND, Papyrus and all other organisations who hide away from sharing this, do NOTHING to help bring down the number of teenage, unnecessary deaths.
    How can WE ensure that we are doing all that we are able to show that we, too, believe all that David says concerning medication dangers? One sure way is to push on with gathering donations for the Rxisk Prize Fund. I notice that the 60 000 dollar mark has now been reached – let’s aim high with an almighty push towards the requested 100 000 dollars in the hope that it will bring forward further research. From that research COULD come a better understanding of akathisia and all the other ills, which, in turn, should make suicides – of teenagers or in other age groups – far less likely.

  8. Yes, colonization. I had just recently been pondering this way of looking at it.

    What you’ve written also reminds me of Sheldon Wolin’s term “inverted totalitarianism,” used to describe situations where things only look democratic or legit but underneath the hollow ideology are unwritten rules not to question what’s really going on. Havel wrote about the greengrocer putting the slogan “Workers of the World Unite” in his store window, not because any workers would actually unite, but because if it wasn’t put there, consequences would follow. It was just what was done, without too much thought, because behind the action was unacknowledged fear.

    Here we have rhetoric about, “evidence based medicine,” “informed choice,” “patient centered care,” “saving and improving lives,” and catchy slogans like, “in science lives hope,” etc. This kind of Ideology is fed to us constantly via internet, television, billboards, posters, even the messages played to us while we’re on hold. Yet nine times out of ten the Ideology absolutely DOES NOT match what really happens. And it’s nearly useless to tell this to those who treat us as they only see and hear what the Ideology allows.

    So basically, David, your “sign” breaks the rules. You put the wrong sign in the window and they would like to talk to you about changing it. If it were really lives they were interested in saving, they would engage with you. But I’m betting it’s more a matter of an investment in protecting the Ideology that keeps things open for business.

  9. Yes, an extraordinarily perceptive ‘window’ from Laurie O summing up the history and the mystery and puts the ‘position’ of David – terrifically engaging

    I wrote about my experience of calling The Samaritans after several weeks cold turkey from Seroxat, on this blog. The chances of me finding it now, are quite remote.

    I called them in desperation when Akathisia had taken hold.

    We had a very weird conversation.
    It was around two in the morning and the Samaritan was a bit short-tempered, even narky, asking me over and over again what the problem was. The problem, of course, was Seroxat.

    I wasn’t able to articulate that it was Seroxat at that time because no one had indicated to me that Seroxat was a problem.

    If only – there had been the question – what drugs are you on?

    Listen to the problems with The Samaritans and every other organisation that profess to help. If they don’t ask the question, there will never be the answer

    Well said, Kristina

    RxISK Retweeted

    Kristina K. Gehrki

    Dear Mr. Prendergast: I’m contacting you on behalf of my child, Natalie, and other precious teens. I try to raise awareness of teen “suicides” that are precipitated by prescriptions. I’m wondering, are you open to critical conversations? (link:…

  10. Wow
    Thankyou DH for such a brilliant (as usual) pin point accurate piece.

    “The single greatest cause of suicide and suicidality in young people is likely to be the medication they take. But despite being repeatedly handed a story about how the entire literature on these pills is ghost-written and the data inaccessible and that regulators have approved drugs on the back of negative trials and Guidelines bodies like NICE recommend these same drugs despite knowing the trials are negative, the BBC have repeatedly flunked handling the story and the Guardian and other newspapers are as bad.”

    Right on the nose and this is something i am at a total lose as to understand.

    “We don’t know what medicines this young woman was on.”

    Exactly, whenever i hear of a most outrageous tragic event, and they aare in the newspapers vrtually everyday of the week…..i ask myself the same thing …i would like to know what that person was swallowing from their doctor.

    Take for example this story i read recently “A Phoenix woman sent a man she met on a dating website more than 159,000 texts – including one stating that she wanted to turn his kidneys into sushi”.
    I would like to know what medicines this woman was on.

    “Under cover of keeping to ethical codes, organisations like the Samaritans block discussion about the suicide risk of antidepressants or related drugs. Anyone working for organisations like the Samaritans who suggests to someone their medication may be making them suicidal is likely to be fired without comeback.”

    One day in horrific withdrawal trauma and at my wits end i rang a help line. I asked them if they knew of anyone who had become suicidal in withdrawal off these drugs and all they could do was tell me to go to my doctor. Of course i never did go to the doctor i wanted to keep myself safe. It was frustrating that noone wanted to confirm my inner conviction that it wasnt me it was the drug. Only one person did and it was my pharmacist.

    I will never forget the day when i confided in my pharmicist the horror i was experiencing trying to get off this drug. He quietly leaned forward and whispered “im not supposed to tell you this but its not you its the drug.” I will never forget those words ever. It was at that moment the lightbulb went on. Of course you are right. Then the humiliation flooded me as i realised that i had been hoodwinked for many years by someone calling black white. The feeling of betrayal overwhelmed me.

    And here is one other story.
    Withdrawal left me unemployable for many years. So rather than have a big unexplained blank on my CV i decided to do some study. I found the easiest course i could that could be done by correspondence. And ended up getting a degree in psychology. In the third year of that degree i did a practicum placement for a week in a respite centre. A woman came in from a failed suicide attempt i saw the file and saw she was trying to get off prozac. I quietly whispered to the manager who did not have prescribing priveleges that this woman was not suicidal it is the drug. Her respsonse to me will also never be forgotton, she leaned forward and quietly said “yes we know that but we arent allowed to say anything”.

  11. An article by Clare Dyer has described this situation which was also recently flagged up on the blog – whereby drug reactions can lead to breakdown of a marriage.

    in thebmj:-
    ‘Neurologist must pay damages for not telling former colleague’s wife about drug side effects.
    The lady was being treated privately for free at the request of her husband another, medical specialist, for a diagnosis of Parkinson’s disease. She developed ‘impulse control disorder’ which led to psychosis and then began making ‘unfounded allegations against her husband and beginning divorce proceedings. The court is to determine damages later.
    The people involved probably have the funds to pay for a legal proceedings unless they know someone who took the case for free as did the colleague who prescribed the drugs. But the outcome may give some hope that legal action may become an option which influences other prescribers.
    It is sad though that even a neurologist didn’t realise that the side effects of the drugs were affecting his wife until so much damage had been done ,although thankfully didn’t lead to suicide this time.

  12. Archived Canadian Drug Safety Information. SSRIs.

    18th May 2004.


    Adult and Paediatrics: Additional Data:

    “There are clinical trial and post marketing reports with SSRIs and other newer antidepressants, in both paediatrics and adults, of severe agitation-type adverse events coupled with self harm, or harm to others”.

    “The agitation-type events include:

    (My emphasis Akathisia —–> Depersonalisation).

    Surely the greatest opportunity for the prevention of these tragic adolescent and teenage deaths lies in facilitating awareness, understanding, and the prevention of AKATHISIA and its devastating, sequelae?

    How many destroyed and lost lives may have been spared if prescribers and prescribed had maintained the level of awareness required in this professional guidance?

  13. The drag net for pushing people onto drugs is in ones face daily …just 6 hours ago in nz this article appeared:

    The last paragraph says :
    And finally, if you’re really concerned, advising your friend to get professional help is paramount. “If you think your friend’s anxiety is having a negative effect on themselves and their lives, encourage them to get help, to go to the the GP or use IAPT services,” he adds. “Don’t be afraid of broaching the subject. You could help them plan the visit to the GP, what they will say and maybe even go with them.”

    This is stomach sickening as we all know how dangerous this advice is.
    I know of someone locally who had a marriage split and were upset as you would be and a friend talked them into going to the doctor and even went with them. (sigh)
    What was the result …a 10 year addiction to paxil. This person is now 9 years drug free and still recovering.

    Again today i read a story that left me asking that question again…..i wonder what he was swallowing from the doctor.
    I can remember about a month or two before paxilprogress online support group was closed down an anaesthetist came in wanting help getting off his cocktail of psychoactive drugs. He really was in a bad way. I can still remember some of his comments like medicine has taught me how to get someones such and such level to a certain percentage but it and i havent got a clue as to how to get off these drugs. And here we were mere mortals with no letters after our names explaining safe tapering and protocols to this academic giant. I often wonder what became of that person as this was like about 7 years ago.
    So my question for today is ..What was this anaesthetist and /or his wife swallowing from the doctor.

  14. “. . . when managed appropriately, discontinuation of antidepressants need not pose a significant clinical problem, and should not discourage depressed patients from using these beneficial medications.”

    Ronald W. Pies, MD
    David N. Osser, MD

    Editor’s note: This Letter is in response to the article published in Psychiatric Times, “Sorting Out the Antidepressant ‘Withdrawal’ Controversy,” by Ronald W. Pies, MD and David N. Osser, MD. What follows this letter is a rejoinder by Dr Pies and Osser.

    The International Antidepressant Withdrawal Crisis: Time to Act

    John Read, PhD
    James Davies, PhD

    Jan 30, 2019

    We are pleased to see that eminent psychiatrists in the US are beginning to acknowledge and discuss the difficulties millions of people around the world are having when they try to withdraw from antidepressants. However, overall, we fear that rather than “Sorting Out the Antidepressant Withdrawal Controversy,” Drs Pies and Osser have made use of imaginary case-studies, appeals to clinical experience, a biased reading of our recent systematic review,1 and a selective use of literature, in order to try and reassure professionals that antidepressant withdrawal is minimal and easily manageable—a view that is clearly inconsistent with an evidence-based approach to this issue.

    The above follows the Couch-in-Crisis comment in Fake News and the Great Purple Pill

    John Read Retweeted

    recovery&renewal‏ @recover2renew 59m

    @CEP @ReadReadj ‘s comment published – and response from ‘authors’. Hmm. “we can all agree that physicians must be much more vigilant in suspecting, detecting, and managing distressing reactions to discontinuation of antidepressants” YES !

    • Thanks Annie,

      …”When managed appropriately, discontinuation of antidepressants need not pose a significant problem” ——> “these beneficial medications”.

      Previously were we not reassured that “The Chemical Imbalance” was a street myth?

      Doesn’t this sound more like marketing than medicine?


  15. Weekly Digest Open Pharma

    A meeting was held at BMA House chaired by ex editor of thebmj

    ‘What’s happening in open science’ (more talk by the sound of it).

    ‘the second half of the meeting addressed the need to make research not just open but discoverable …it is critical to link ……….to the original data’…

    Are we nearly there yet dad? halfway there? a bit nearly there?

    Ironic that thebmj attended during the same week they published a scandalous collaboration with the new york times on measles vaccination. (see previous post)

  16. PAPYRUS has just been on the 6pm BBC News described as – one of the biggest national organisations dealing with suicide is reporting huge rises in suicide and numbers of peolpe contacting their help line since last year.
    PAPYRUS needs to stop using the horror of suicide to promote themselves above the work being carried out by others. How do so many people get to know about Papyrus in the first place?
    Wonder if they will try to make more trouble for the blog following the correspondence with you David..this news piece was probably being prepared when C Prendergrast contacted I expect it it has been quickly passed on ,.they obviously have useful contacts in government. The way they are making a meal of a young girl’s death of two years ago is pretty disgusting anyway.

  17. Children and teenagers are curious, rebellious creatures, you tell them these images are shocking and sensational they will want to access this forbidden fruit.
    I used to be a teacher….What children and teenagers were accessing via mobile phones would have totally shocked many parents. Middle Class 8 year olds viewing Saddam Husain actually hanging. Live’ beheadings’ extreme porn ..all at the click of a button

    Where was the outrage then?
    Educators, Parents, Society needs to talk about death and suicide.
    Teenage pregnancies in the under 16s rarely are mentioned now.
    Teenagers especially are much more informed about sex than they were
    10-15 years ago.
    So who is the new Mary Whitehouse…..take a pick…….

    Why like sex in the past is suicide so taboo?
    Parents need to know how and why Children/Teenagers choose to end their life’s, Teachers and Parents are encouraged to tell their children about the dangers of alcohol, sex, drugs….I have warned my boys above all to NEVER take an anti-depressant or use acne cream etc…….the potential consequences…are potentially far direr than dabbling in alcohol, sex or illegal drugs….

  18. A, Mary Whitehouse?

    Little known facts about ‘Gordon Bennett’…


    The article concerns children/teenagers in the UK. In a comparable developed country, 87% of teenagers who took their lives had been prescribed antidepressants. This (and the linked articles) might give you an idea of what is happening to our children: (link:…

    ‘Suicidal generation’: tragic toll of teens doubles in 8 years

    Sian Griffiths and Tim Shipman

    February 3 2019, 12:01am, The Sunday Times

    Professor Louis Appleby, head of the national suicide prevention strategy, said: “Teenage suicide is on the rise . . . The danger is that we are presiding over a suicidal generation of young people and that young people have learnt self-harm as a way of coping.”

    He spoke out as ministers prepared to launch a triple crackdown on harm caused by social media companies.

  19. PS as just noticed -Papyrus is a ‘long standing member of government advisory groups’. We don’t know which other organisations are members or what their interests are. They claim over 200 youngsters a year are ‘lost’ to suicide – that there has been a %44 increase in contact with Papyrus over a year , that every year ‘many thousands’ attempt of contemplate suicide – the biggest killer of young people..’ No actual figures are given .If they are members of governmnt groups this information should be accessible to them, The same ‘stories’ are used over and over again especially blaming the internet ,which governments are attempting to control more and more. Papyrus could have suggested a collaboration with D H to include the evidence gathered over decades about suicides caused by medication – yet they chose to bow to those who are more concerned with money and growing their orgs., than young lives. This has been happening whatever political party is in control, with the collaboration of some of those ‘campaign groups’who could have saved lives instead of growing longer tentacles with which to try to stifle the truth openly discussed by others.

  20. Hi, of course these psychiatric meds are prescribed without informed consent. Doctors are unaware of the side affects of these drugs and do not believe an individual whose emotions are disturbed can make a judgement on whether they need to take them or not.

    I have been prescribed Haldol for years. It was found that every two weeks when the drug was due I became suicidal. I blamed the drug. It was the drug tapering off and I was in fact withdrawing. So I now have it prescribed weekly. I was never and have never ever been given informed consent. I am wondering whether anyone ever has regarding these treatments?. Or any treatment for that matter?. You are given from the chemist a sheet of paper with side affects written in small writing. How is that informed consent?

    It is not just the media who give out fake news. It appears doctors by never informing their patients who trust them by not informing them are as much to blame.

    Given my life over again and the fact I do get psychotic, delusional and used to hear voices maybe if given informed consent I would never have entertained these drugs in my system suffered all the side affects all of these years only to realize they couldn’t possibly cure me of an illness there is no cure for and not even modifying it in the slightest.

    It seems that not only fake news, the Papyrus charity and doctors were responsible for this young girl’s death. All three are to blame. Now it is left for her parents to place flowers on her grave.

  21. It was obvious to me when my brother committed suicide in 1977 that there was something profoundly lacking in the psychiatric profession and with its medication. There was no Facebook at that time and I am aware that social media is probably keeping my son alive today.Only his posts on Facebook give me an insight in what he goes through and what he is doing when really ill.

    The fault in my opinion is the profession and those that head it. Psychiatrists have sold out to the drug companies by prescribing without informed consent. Whether my brother was withdrawing off of medication at the time of his death I do not know. That knowledge has gone with him.

    His legacy are his poems.

    I fell foul to emotional blackmail and force by the profession because I needed to make my son safe and keep him at home and so I have spent a lifetime taking these meds. Have they alleviated my suffering in any way? It’s hard to say! The side affects are as bad as the illness itself. I have never committed a crime in my life why am I then treated by the law created by politicians and leading psychiatrists like a criminal? Even they get parole. I got a life sentence.

  22. It’s akin to a fire investigator ignoring a burnt box of matches and can of petrol at a crime scene. Utterly incredulous!

    It’s also known as the Dunning–Kruger effect.

  23. [Following also posted on your article – Left Hanging: Suicide in Bridgend – March 2013]

    Dear David,

    There is an aspect I am most surprised you have not mentioned and then on reflection I am not surprised.

    You make no mention of what the local Child Death Overview Panel [CDOP] did in response to these most distressing child deaths and to meet their statutory obligations to investigate and report to prevent future child deaths.

    A normal person who knows what the local CDOP is meant to do as a matter of law would be most surprised. A normal person who knows what CDOPs in fact do would not be.

    A child death is a death of a person aged less than 18 years old.

    However, if you did mention CDOPs that would then lead to a review of an industry: the UK’s child protection industry.

    CDOPs and Coroners are just the first and second levels. I cannot address all levels here. Some are mentioned.

    At all levels this industry does not do the job required by Acts of Parliament to protect children. The practical focus in my experience appears to be on finding evidence to blame parents if they can. This is despite all the fine words by politicians and the great and the good in official publications and reports.

    It is a symptom of the sickness in politics today. “Duty” is a four letter word. “Integrity” is too long and difficult. Voters have no confidence and don’t vote or participate in a political system which over centuries many in our islands died fighting and striving towards for our benefit today.


    I have experience of the inquests into the deaths of two unrelated children in different parts of England. Both deaths occurred within seven days of the administration of pharmaceutical products.

    No one at either CDOP reported the deaths as possible adverse drug reactions under the Yellow Card system and nor did any other medical or other professional including the pathologist from Great Ormond Street Hospital.

    One might summarise this by asking: do CDOPs only check to see if the parents can be prosecuted, but do nothing if the drug industry, a doctor or anyone else might be?


    The Yellow Card system is negated by the internal procedures of the MHRA making the entire Yellow Card system useless for identifying signals of possible adverse drug reactions.

    I have studied two drug safety analyses produced by the MHRA. These were produced following their internal procedures for analysis of Yellow Card reports so will be typical of the MHRA’s approach to all analyses.

    The analyses were manipulated to ensure any underlying condition could not be identified.

    It appears the MHRA routinely split up reported Yellow Card symptoms into separate groups: eg all headache symptoms are reported together as if the headache is the reaction and any related symptoms are also reported separately as if not part of the same condition which caused the headache. This prevents anyone identifying the underlying condition or syndrome the symptoms indicate the person concerned might have had.


    Neither Coroner at the inquests I attended reported either child death to the MHRA under the Yellow Card system as possible adverse drug reactions.

    At one of the inquests the Coroner invited comment on whether he should make a statutory report to the Chief Coroner recommending all deaths associated with recent administration of pharmaceutical products be reported as possible adverse drug reactions. It was mentioned this would help identify pharmaceuticals which might be associated with death. A possible causal association could then be investigated and lives saved.

    The Coroner’s expert whilst giving evidence asked in effect that this was not done as it might affect public confidence in the pharmaceuticals.

    The Coroner obliged. The suggest report was not made.


    The system of oversight of child deaths in the UK was meant to have been overhauled in 2009. This followed a number of fig leaves for the political Establishment following a long line of prior ones. Some of the more recent examples are mentioned here.

    The 2004 Baroness Helena Kennedy report on Sudden and Unexpected Death in Infants (RCPath and RCPCH, 2004) followed the wrongful conviction of mothers for child deaths including the case of solicitor Sally Clark following two infant deaths in her family. This fig leaf makes it look like the Establishment cares and acts to make changes but we can see it did no such thing. What it also does is bring into focus the roles of the Royal College of Pathologists and the Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health as part of the child protection industry.

    The Kennedy Report recommendations were extended to the processes to be followed when any child dies as put forward in Working Together to Safeguard Children (2006).

    There is no point having processes which do not do what the public are told they are there for nor achieve what is claimed for them.

    The Labour politician Ed Balls as Secretary of State wrote the foreword to The Department for Children, Schools and Families May 2009 action plan “The Protection of Children in England”. This was billed as the response to Lord Laming’s report.

    Balls wrote a lot of fine but worthless words typical of the political establishment. Nothing much has changed. Does he care?

    Balls wrote:-

    “This country has one of the best child protection systems in the world. Every day, thousands of people at the front line – social workers, teachers, police officers, doctors, nurses and many others – work tirelessly to support children and young people and help keep them safe. But good practice is not yet standard practice everywhere – and we should not rest until it is.

    That is why, last November, I asked Lord Laming to prepare an urgent, independent report of progress on safeguarding arrangements nationally. His report, The Protection of Children in England: A Progress Report, was published on 12 March. The Government welcomed Lord Laming’s report and responded immediately, accepting all his recommendations and taking urgent action.

    Lord Laming’s report confirmed that robust legislative, structural and policy foundations are in place and that our Every Child Matters reforms set the right direction and are widely supported. He underlined the progress that has been made and the positive difference that people working with children, particularly those most at risk, are making every day. But he was also clear that there needs to be “a step change in the arrangements to protect children from harm”. He challenged us all – central government, local government, national and local partners, and the public – to do more.

    Lord Laming’s report set out a compelling analysis and a comprehensive set of recommendations to ensure best practice is universally applied in every area of the country, to strengthen national and local leadership and accountability, and to provide more support to local leaders and for the frontline workforce. We have already begun to act on his recommendations. We have appointed Sir Roger Singleton as the first ever Chief Adviser on the Safety of Children to advise Government on strategic priorities and the effective implementation of safeguarding policy.

    We have taken immediate action to start to transform the social work profession. We are clarifying and strengthening the key role of Local Safeguarding Children Boards. And we are establishing a new National Safeguarding Delivery Unit to ensure a co-ordinated approach across Government and to support and challenge Children’s Trusts and local authorities to drive up standards and the quality of practice.

    This document sets out the Government’s detailed response to Lord Laming’s report and our plan of action to deliver the step change which he has called for. It is an action plan to which I and my colleagues across Government are firmly committed but one which we know we cannot deliver alone. Keeping children and young people safe must be the responsibility, every single day, of us all.

    Nothing we can do will bring back the children who have died at the hands of their abusers or relieve the suffering of those children who have been deliberately harmed. But we have to be determined to learn the lessons and to act now to make a lasting difference so that more children will be protected in future.”

    And so the cycle of children dying with their deaths not properly investigated goes on, and on, and on, and on ………..

    ………. and the establishment continues to produce lots of fine reports and words to make it sound like they are doing something and care … but nothing changes.

    • The media was full of the death of Sally Clark in 2007 but remarkably the context of her successful appeal against conviction was never mentioned. A few weeks later an article by Neville Hodgkinson appeared in the main edition of the Spectator in which he recorded of events in 1999:

      “…An examination of related legal and other correspondence has now made clear the reason for this extraordinary omission. It is that child health experts, following public loss of confidence in vaccination when the risks of brain damage were first publicised, were trying to maintain a united front in preventing further debate. Even paediatricians who gave testimony on Mrs Clark’s behalf told defence lawyers that if vaccination were mentioned as a possible cause of Harry’s death, they would dispute it. Not wanting to confuse the jury, and with judges having a history of bowing to dominant medical opinion, the defence decided to stay silent on the issue.”

      It is interesting to note that you used to be able to find this article in the web-archive but is now missing. Harry if I remember had an infection, which it was later revealed was staphylococcus aureus, received five vaccines DPT, HiB and polio, and died five hours later. Given the opprobrium that has been heaped on Andrew Wakefield, we might ask about the integrity of doctors who deny the blindingly obvious to preserve the reputation of the programme – including sending a broken-hearted parent to jail. Sir Roy Meadow as is well known, gave flawed, not to say preposterous evidence about the improbability of a mother losing two infants, Prof David Southall rang up a BBC radio programme following an interview with Clark’s husband to allege that he had murdered Harry.

  24. The Comments in Left Hanging: Suicide in Bridgend range from:

    Irene Campbell-Taylor says:
    March 12, 2013 at 11:53 am


    Mr Miller says:
    February 5, 2019 at 4:05 am

    I have read all the comments several times over and I would urge others to do the same…Mr Miller is well-versed

    2.1.4 In order to respond appropriately to each death, senior professionals attending the child at the end of his/her life must consult with each other in order to determine the correct course of action. This is relevant to all child deaths, wherever they occur.

    4.1.1 The child death review meeting is the final multi-professional meeting where all matters relating to an individual child’s death are discussed by the professionals directly involved in the care of that child

    The team around the family

    All staff have a duty to support bereaved parents after their child’s death and to show kindness and compassion. When medical error has occurred, healthcare professionals have a duty to apologise, to explain what has happened, and to identify what lessons may be learnt to reduce the likelihood of the same thing happening again.

    The UK’s 4 nations – England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales – have their own child protection system and laws to help protect children from abuse and neglect. Each nation has a framework of legislation, guidance and practice to identify children who are at risk of harm, and take action to protect those children and prevent further abuse occurring.

    Mr Miler points to those systems who are refraining

    Abuse and Neglect and Harm is never directed at those Outfits of which Mr Miller has drawn attention

    It would seem a very good idea that this particular blog keeps running and running …

    Thank you Mr Miller for ‘Padding-Out’ your Professional Comment

  25. ASIST Suicide Prevention Training: “Safe” for Who?

    Sera Davidow

    February 5, 2019

    Hallelujah! Was this going to be the first mainstream training I would ever attend that wasn’t pretty much all about getting people into the mental health system? Were they going to make space to talk about the dangers of medicalizing human distress? Were they going to challenge the assumption that suicide is necessarily even connected to “mental health issues”? Were they going to understand that the psychiatric system has the potential to do more harm than good so much of the time?

    Press Release

    So, I’ve taken this gift and turned it into a press release. I’ve now sent that press release to all sorts of media contacts, the Northern Rivers CEO and COO, all the ASIST trainers who facilitated my class, and several Northern Rivers Board members. Additionally, I sent it to the Commissioner (Ann Sullivan) of the New York Office of Mental Health (OMH), the OMH Director of Child and Family Services (Donna Bradbury), and the one remaining employee of the OMH Office of Consumer Affairs, Tony Trahan (who was left on his own after the Director of that Office, John Allen, was charged with 29 counts of child endangerment and fired from his post). Not surprisingly, they’ve all been silent in response. Well, except for Tony Trahan who accidentally (I assume) copied me into an e-mail that he wrote just to say he’d be ignoring me. I replied immediately asking if he couldn’t even spare a “I’m sorry that happened,” but got nothing back. I guess I just have to see this as the part of the “gift” where I’m also given hard evidence about how useless  and incompetent these systems are in handling the complaints about the terrible things they do.

  26. So Molly made it to Swedish media too, or perhaps Instagrams response, I should say.
    The emphasis is not on what caused a young person to die, but how an internet application should act about it.

    And while I read about Molly I overheard a documentary on the tv, by chance, mentioning a swedish female offender, and: “how she, the fall leading up to her crime, had been struggeling with increasing anxiety and depression”

    All this overwhelms me, I think I hear a possible pharma induced crime each day.

    I once saw some other video on the internet, depicting parents holding their lost childrens framed pictures in the hallway to a congressional hearing in America. Shaking the hands of the representatives as they made their way in to the hearing. I don’t remember, but it was probably in one of the documentaries about pharma/suicide.

    I’m sure Molly parents can do the same, now many years later, but things won’t change, just the faces on the framed pictures.


  27. Fully support the general view that Pharma and establishment are big factors.Pathologising, classifying, undermines potential for self-care, marginalises real world phonological factors, displaces the real issues.
    My big contention, is you cite Samaritans as somehow colluding, in … a conspiracy on these very fragile, extremely vulnerable souls. As a volunteer … yes, we are all unpaid, totally voluntary, rigorously trained, selected,… to uphold core principles … that we never judge, we suspend our own prejudices, no grasping, imposing of ‘solutions’, as the caller is best placed to be expert on their circumstances, so … never tell them what they should do! Yes, actively explore, discuss, all options, with caller, pose scenarios, reflect, ask how they’d feel for each. But, advice, that is a red line, to respect their right to self- determination, it’s their unique pain, their life. A Sam that has erred in that, would be that no one gets instantly dismissed, as far as I am aware, though maybe taken off active duty perhaps … but after every duty, thoroughly debriefed, supportive, coaching, checking whether we’re holding any trauma, sensitivities, as it’s sometimes v heart rending, or abusive attacks on us, etc, and explore why, motives, for our interactions, self awareness, to reveal any blind spots. Maybe being paired with another Sam, for coaching even. But … the scenario you describe, no way, no politics or other agendas, just the original very ‘caller focused principles of accepting, valuing, being there, with them, come what may, any time, whatever the anxiety, most often it’s loneliness, utterly lost with it, no one to share how they feel, who won’t jump to trying to fix them, that’s big part of the story. Please go visit v yourself, local branch, they’re v approachable, autonomous, grass roots. Find out first hand, and maybe talk to HQ, think they’d be very open to your input, to help inform their understanding, policy.

    • I think you have a problem – you do collude. Very difficult for you not to. If a Samaritan says to someone they should head to hospital to get some med they have been put on as a possible cause for their suicidality, they will likely be fired. If they don’t do so, they are colluding.

      The problem doesn’t lie with the intentions of individual Samaritans or those of the organisation but while doing much wonderful work there is an inevitable degree of collusion if the system in which you operate is as mendacious as the current system is


  28. AntiDepAware‏ @AntiDepAware

    “The single greatest cause of suicide and suicidality in young people is likely to be the medication they take,” says @DrDavidHealy. …

    6:47 am – 19 Jul 2019

    Wendy Burn  ‏ @wendyburn 9h

    Replying to @AntiDepAware @Stuartw99132233 @DrDavidHealy

    The most recent study of suicides in young people in England and Wales found only 16% were taking antidepressants. So while these drugs need to be very carefully monitored I don’t think it is fair to say they are the greatest cause.

    Wendy Burn  ‏ @wendyburn Jul 18

    I think I was so sure that I was helping that I didn’t think beyond it. And of course in the rest of medicine it is common to hurt people as a necessary part of their treatment.

    Wendy Burn  ‏ @wendyburn 23 Feb 2018

    I’m really sorry for anyone who experiences withdrawal but most people can stop then without problems as long as it’s done slowly. This is about long term use: :

    James Moore‏ @jf_moore 23 Feb 2018

    I’m sorry I have to take issue with this, firstly, your own survey on the @rcpsych website shows that 63% reported withdrawal symptoms (82% for Venlafaxine) secondly, how does one ‘withdraw slowly’? Do they cut pills, do they crush them, where is the official guidance?

    ‘Only 16%’ were taking antidepressants, does not embellish what happened to that 16%

    It doesn’t matter whether 4%, 8%, 16%, 24% were taking antidepressants –

    “The single greatest cause of suicide and suicidality in young people is likely to be the medication they take,”

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