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Thu 8th May 2008

Queen Street march for Toran Henry

Filed under: Boys / Youth / Education,General — Mike @ 10:33 pm

What follows is a verbatim copy of a letter sent by Toran’s mother to Polly Gillespie at the ZM radio station. I feel it deserves as much attention as it can possibly receive, so please read on and consider going along if you are able to do so.

From: Maria Bradshaw
Sent: Wednesday, April 16, 2008 6:50 AM
To: Polly Gillespie
Subject: Toran Henry

Hi Polly

I’m Maria Bradshaw, the mother of the 17 year old boy Toran Henry who committed suicide nearly 4 weeks ago.

You may have seen in the news that I found my baby hanging in our garage after he had been let down by his school and told by mental health services that he should take prozac and could drink alcohol in the weekends.

Its a long story and much more has to come out about it. The most reliable information about it has been in the Sunday News over the past few weeks.

Polly, I am a single Mum. Toran is my only child and the only child I will ever have. I have raised my beautiful boy alone for 17 years and 10 months. There are no words to describe how I feel about him – I simply adore him and have devoted my life to him. I know how much you love your children Polly but you cannot in your worst nightmares imagine how it feels, not only to have your child suddenly disappear from the world but to have found him hanging in what was a totally preventable death.

There is currently an inquiry into the way he was treated by his school but even though I am his mother, I have no right to a copy of the report that will be produced from the inquiry. The school have been allowed to do an internal inquiry and I am not even listed as a stakeholder in the inquiry. Similarly, youth mental health services have been allowed to conduct an internal inquiry which is not allowed to investigate the actions or competence of those who dealt with my son. Even the coroners inquiry is only allowed to make recommendations but not to hold acccountable those who killed my baby.

To say my life has been destroyed, that I live in hell is such an understatement the words are meaningless. I have loved and nurtured my treasured son for nearly 18 years and his loss is quite simply unbearable. Can you imagine being asked if you want your adored child buried or cremated and having to choose a coffin for him?

I dont know if you are aware of how many children have died under the care of youth mental health services or that a report was recently released showing 42% of children are bullied by teachers at school. The government keeps allowing these agencies to conduct confidential, internal inquiries and our children keep dying.

It will be Toran’s birthday on 13 May. He was born at 11.54am. There is a planned march down Queen street at 11.54am on 13 May. The march is to commemorate Toran’s birthday but more than that, it is to tell the government that we are sick of internal inquiries that do nothing to prevent the horrific rate of child deaths under the care of mental health services.

My son will never have children. I will never be a grandmother. On the day my son died, I realised the simple truth that the meaning of life is to watch your children and grandchildren grow up. Nothing else matters – my career, my house, money in the bank – all meaningless without my baby to share it with. His wardrobe is full of the toys he had as a small child. I was saving them for my grandchildren so I could tell them “this was your daddy’s teddy when he was little.” Now they sit there with no place to go.

The march is not just for Toran but for all our children, our grandchildren, our neices and nephews. It is a call for an independent inquiry into what we are doing to our children in NZ.

If you want more information about Toran please search on his name in youtube and watch the DVD I made for his funeral called Toran Henry from Mum and the one his friends made for him called RIP Toran Henry. For information on the march, please look at www.toran.co.nz

His bebo page, which has nearly 26,000 hits will show you how loved he is.
I am writing to you to ask if you would publicise the march. My son was a bright, happy little boy, just as im sure your children are. I would never in my worst nightmare have thought this would happen to me and to my beautiful Toran. I dont ask you to do this for Toran (although I bet you wont be able to watch his youtube video without crying) but for your children and the children of your friends.

Please Polly, help me get the word out about Toran’s birthday march. We need to make it a big event to make the government listen.

Thank you so much.

Maria

___

20 Responses to “Queen Street march for Toran Henry”

  1. cb says:

    may i have some information about his father please ? good or bad, just to get a better picture …

  2. whanga says:

    I am sorry to say this and call me cynical if you will but get over it.You will not bring him back.Adopt another child if you really want grandchildren so much.I can see no reason why the child’s parents should be involved in or given information from an enquiry.This is purely from a lawyer’s point of view sorry.From a human point of view I am sure you son would want you to have a long and happy life not feel bitter.You cannot change the past.Move on…
    I have spent too much time in my own life feeling bitter and disappointed so know only too wellhow much time can be wasted feeling like this.

  3. Hadi Akbari says:

    Hi Maria, i really feel for you, that would have to be the worst thing ever, back in 2002 my wife got up to her 5mth old baby girl to find her dead at 6am and i know how yuck that would have been, to find your only child who has committed suicide due to going through hell is really bad, Rest In Peace Toran, your mother loves you very much

  4. Hans Laven says:

    My deepest sympathy Maria. It is likely to take a long time before you again feel you can move forward into a different but fulfilling future. Notice the small steps of recovery and frequently reassure yourself that this, as all things, will pass, even if you don’t believe the reassurance.

    I support you in pursuing accountability from those who may not have acted adequately.

    Suicide, although comparable with the level of road accident fatalities, receives a small fraction of the attention and funding. Possibly this is due in part to the fact that many more males than females commit suicide, and in our feminist era males are despised more than protected. A great deal needs to be done to change social attitudes to suicide in general and to the specific factors leading men young and old to lose hope so badly.

  5. Weeangel says:

    This is to Whanga who put their comment on Friday 9th May, I hope that you yourself have not lost anyone to suicide, because if you have and you are telling Maria to “get over it”, then I feel sorry for you. I have lost both a school mate and my cousin to suicide, and it has been the most soul destroying sad thing that could have happened.

    I have two sons, and lost my third son last year when I was 18 weeks pregnant, I am still getting over that loss, but to actually lose one of my other sons in the way Maria has would be completely and utterly devastating. I think you need to think carefully before telling people to move on or as you say adopt a child. Until you have lost a child yourself, and until you have experienced suicide close hand you are in no position at all to comment or pass judgment!

  6. Brenda Hall says:

    Maria

    My heart goes out to you. My 27 year old husband gassed himself in our garage, where I found him, just over 2 years ago. I can totally understand the horror and trauma you are going through. I also understand how you must adore him. I still adore my husband and always will. Its not just teens but young men in general who are doing this in alarming numbers. Please feel free to get in touch if you want to talk or if theres anything I can do to help. Something has to be done about this.
    Brenda Hall
    Hamilton

  7. rosie says:

    Dear Maria
    I’m so sorry for your loss of a loved son.
    I know how you’re feeling.I too have lost a child to suicide.My beautiful daughter.
    You will be in my thoughts and prayers
    Love Rosie

  8. Dave says:

    Maria you will probably never realise how many fathers know what you are going through to a greater or lesser degree.

    I agree that this unwritten rule of not discussing suicide is deeply wrong and needs to change fast. Most suicides are men not youths. This is one of the basic facts that is not discussed.

    I dont think blaming mental health will help on the national level. I think we need to look at what is wrong with NZ society that so many men and boys kill themselves and so many girls do self harm. The answer to these questions have already been well researched but they are not discussed because it is politically incorrect to do so.

  9. MurrayBacon says:

    Mental Health help isn’t a sexy subject. Both National and Labour Governments have allocated additional funding to Hospital Boards, marked for mental health – often after very public human disasters. When the next disaster has come along, it has turned out that the Hospital Boards had used the additional funding in non mental health areas.

    This has led to Government setting more stringent accounting standards, so that money earmarked for mental health, does in fact get used for this by the Hospital Boards. One trick was to debit administrative costs to mental health, that were previously charged to shared overheads. Then the amount of money not billed to shared overheads, was now available for maternity or obstetrics.

    While mental health issues were hidden from public gaze, they didn’t seem too big.

    Now that we are discussing these issues more openly, the scale of the problem is being understood. As the requirements for workers are lifted, in a more sharply competitive economy, more of the potential workforce are left unable to participate. Thus it is clearly valuable to the person and to the community, to offer quality mental healthcare treatment.

    It seems that there are more women in the low level mentally ill category, but at the extreme end, there are more men than women. The former may be due to women being more willing to ask for help and the latter partly that evolution takes more gamble with men’s lives than womens, at both ends of the mental health spectrum.

    Better public support for people having temporary or permanent mental problems will make a safer world for us all. This is preferable to taking advantage of people when they are down, as so often happens in familycaught, cheers Murray.

  10. rosie says:

    It’s this government that is responsible for the mental health issues in people these days resulting in more and more suicides.
    If Helen was to take her eyes off Judith for just a few days,she would see how men are being so disadvantaged,including her own husband.
    Look at her on the cover of Ian Wishart’s book ‘Absolute Power’
    She’s not a pretty sight with her blazing eyes and her snarling mouth.
    What did happen to those motherly women of yesterday who got up early each morning to make their kids lunches for school?
    Or the dads who worked 40 hours plus overtime while their wives stayed at home caring for the children?

  11. melanie says:

    Get over it, people die!

  12. JimBWarrior - HandsOnEqualParent says:

    Maria,

    I have just noticed this and am hopeing your healing – What an awful thing to happen and perhaps even worse people on this site that are so sick emmotinally that than can offer only critism of your obvious love for your boy and grief –

    Stay Strong in time only the more precious memories will remain – Bless you – Jim

  13. Jacinta says:

    Hi Maria,
    I am so sorry for your loss. I have closely followed the media coverage surrounding Toran’s suicide. I have a personal interest in this as my daughter Helena (aged 15 years) attempted suicide last November. She had been chronically ill with Juvenille arthritis and chronic pain. Obviously she was depressed from being in this situation. She was prescibed prozac, initially she felt ok, but after they doubled the dose she became acutely suicidal, we had to have her admitted to the adult mental health unit here in Nelson, there was no facillity for adolescents. A month or so later we found her unconscious from a massive drug overdose, she ended up being admitted to Starship for 2 weeks as she went into liver failure, we were told that she may die or need a transplant. Her journey back to recovery has been extremely difficult but she gets stronger every day, we as a family received no counselling or admission from the mental health services that there was an association with the prozac. There was no proper support for our child for her pain or her mental anguish prior to her suicide attempt. The prozac definately created the profound suicidal ideation. I am so sorry that your son did not get the care and respect that he needed and this ultimately led to his death by suicide, If there is any support or help that we can give you please let me know. I fully support a government inquiry into the shortcomings with the treatment of our kids who have mental heath issues and also the treatment of depression with SSRIs.
    Kind Regards From Jacinta

  14. Tom says:

    The research into these SSRIs is disgraceful. So much suppressed information about suicidal ideation that the govt knows about. These things are worse than useless and need to be substituted with real alternatives proven to work. Let me know if there is anything I can do to help Maria.

    Jacinta I have alot of information about alternative pain remedies I can
    pass on and have had good results with chronic pain sufferers. Should have some sound links soon. tom1nz@yahoo.co.nz

  15. Ingrid says:

    Dear Maria,
    Today I learned for the first time about Toran in Uncensored Magazine. I have been researching ‘Teenage Depression’ as I decide whether or not to allow my 16 year old daughter to take the Prozac prescribed by a psychiatrist.
    After visiting http://www.cchr.org.nz I feel empowered to stick to the path of natural healing (Omega oils etc for Hormone imbalances) and LOVE.
    My heart aches for all the family and friends of lost loved ones.
    “But there for the Grace of God go I”.
    Have courage Maria and all those supporting you on this journey for TRUTH.
    We all know that the system strives to keep itself aloof from reality and to maintain its power at all costs. But your efforts will awaken many like myself who are called upon to become conscious for the very survival of our children.
    THANK YOU. Warmest regards, Ingrid

  16. Q. Wang says:

    Dear Maria,

    I am so sorry to learn that your son passed away in such a tragic way. Please accept my sincere condolence. I fully understand your feeling and what you are doing to bring the justice back to your son, your family and the public, and to help prevent similar tragedies from happening to other families.

    My wife passed away in a similar tragic way in July 2007. I have been working hard to do the same thing you are doing. Mental health services have very serious problems and are not safe in this country.

    I would appreciate it if you could contact me to share our experience and support each other.

    Kindest regards,
    Q. Wang
    Palmerston North

  17. Laura-Kate says:

    Hi Ingrid,

    I just thought id let you know my story about how Prozac had affected me.

    I had been feeling down for a long time so i went to my GP who referred me to a psychiatrist.

    Like your daughter, i was prescribed Prozac at just 16 years old. – in January this year.

    I started taking it and 1 month later i was feeling worse so i went back. My psychiatrist told me to take double the dose. I did as he said and 1 month later i went back to see him again. This time, i was feeling so bad that i had planned out how i was going to kill myself .. that afternoon i was going to enter the motorway the wrong way and boost it into anyone or anything.

    Anyhow, i went to the meeting and told him how terrible and suicidal i was feeling. Guess what he said – take 4x the recommended dose!

    He refused to listen when i said how bad i was feeling and showed him the cuts that i had made on my arms.

    After i left the meeting i made the best decision in my life. i called up my boyfriend and told him what had happened and how i was feeling. he caught a taxi from the other side of auckland to come and be with me. He drove me home and from then on i stopped taking prozac.

    The last day i took Prozac was 8 March 2010. For 3 and a 1/2 months after, i was getting nausea, cramps, headaches, cold-sweats and many more symptoms of withdrawl from Prozac.

    I truly know that if it wasn’t for that 1 call to my boyfriend, i would not be here right now. I owe my life to him, rather than loosing my life to Prozac.

    When i hear of people who have put their kids on Prozac my heart melts because i know how close i was to death.

    They say when you’re feeling as bad as i was, you’re meant to just try get through each minute, i tell you what – getting through each second was a mission in itself.

    I dont mean to scare you by what i’ve just typed, i’m just trying to prevent andthing bad happening to your daughter.

    If i can be of any further help, please don’t hesitate to contact me,
    wild_surf_chick@hotmail.com

    Laura
    x

  18. Ken says:

    Good to hear you are bitter and disappointed with your life. It is an appropriate reward for your callousness. A bit of physical suffering and maybe we can all derive a little pleasure from your existence. My condolances to Ms Bradshaw, I cant begin to imagine how you feel.

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