Wednesday, September 05, 2018

THE mother of a 35-year-old woman who died last week after a tragic incident has appealed to people to reach out for help if they need it.

Debbie Mulhall from Graiguecullen died on Wednesday after she was hit by a train near Kilkenny city. She had lived a troubled life which was marred with drugs and mental illness but in recent years had been drug-free and getting better.

When you’re dealing with drug addiction, you’re waiting for that knock on the door,” Sandra Murnane, Debbie’s heartbroken mother, told The Nationalist. “It was a terrible shock for us because Debbie had been drug-free for the past two years and had been working really hard on getting better. What we didn’t realise was that she still had her demons.”

Debbie had a long history with drug abuse and her mother had tried every avenue possible to help her over the years. It was only in recent years that Debbie was finally diagnosed with having schizophrenia.

Mental illness and drug addiction go hand in hand,” Sandra bravely continued. “She had her troubles, but it was only later that she was diagnosed with having mental heath problems. Debbie knew herself that something was wrong, but she only found the right help later on.”

Debbie was treated in St Canice’s Hospital, Kilkenny and was about to start a rehabilitation programme to get her back living in society.

Growing up, she went to Scoil Mhuire gan Smál NS and Presentation College, Carlow. Sandra remembers a daughter who was “outgoing, friendly and bubbly when she was in good health” and was someone who loved her family.

Her drug habit led to relationships breaking down, but her subsequent rehabilitation saw her “making amends and building bridges”.

Indeed, Debbie had been doing so well that it made her tragic death all the more shocking. Now Sandra is appealing to people to reach out for help and for their loved ones to listen to them.

Never take for granted that the person is better. It’s too late for Debbie now, but maybe I could help one person by saying this. Keep going until you find the right help. If someone had told us years ago about the link between drug-taking and mental health, we could have intervened sooner. People who are sick don’t realise how many people are with them and who are willing to listen to them. Find someone to talk to and don’t give up on your family, they’re there for you.”

Debbie was laid to rest after requiem Mass on Sunday, where mourners were invited to make a donation to Pieta House in lieu of giving flowers.

Debbie is survived by her two daughters, two brothers, her mother and extended family.

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By Elizabeth Lee
Contact Newsdesk: +353 59 9170100

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