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HSE Settles with Family of Talented Musician who Died by Suicide

Posted: May 22nd, 2021

The relatives of Alec Rea, a young musician who died by suicide, have settled a High Court action with the Health Service Executive (HSE) in relation to the manner of his death.

A €200,00 settlement was agreed with his family in relation to the nervous shock they sustained. Additionally there was no admission of liability.

The agreed settlement, which includes a statutory solatium mental distress payment of €35,000, was approved by Justice Kevin Cross. The Judge said it was a very tragic case and the judge passed on his condolences to the Rea family.

A statement from the family was read out in court which described Alec as an exceptionally talented young musician. When he died, Alec was just 24-years-old and was expected to sign a record deal with an American producer in the near future. Sean Rea and Loren Rea of Priestown, Carndonagh, Co Donegal, had sued the HSE for nervous shock over the death of their son on February 3, 2016.

The statement said that the family wanted to make it clear to those with mental health difficulties should urgently seek help and support they need and families should be listened to and safeguards established to ensure adequate follow-up.

The court was advised that Alec had come home from a music festival following being praised by a US record producer for his talent. Despite this he entered a state of deep depression and lost all interest in music during October 2015. The Judge was informed that Mr Rea had first initially shown symptoms that he was suffering with depression as early as 2008 when he was aged 16.

He was prescribed with a course of medication for his depression during December 2015 and, following another review during January 2016, he was admitted to the mental health unit of Letterkenny General Hospital for a full psychiatric assessment and treatment.

He was referred to a social worker, after a medical professional A medic reviewed his prescription, in order to put in place a plan to support Mr Rea at his home. This plan was to include the use of recreational and training opportunities.

As she was concerned regarding his mental state, on January 22 2016 Alec Rea’s mother arranged an appointment with the mental health services. However, Mr Rea did not attend the meeting in question.

After being seen by another social worker on January 29, 2016, his mother claims, she got in touch with Buncrana Mental Health Services everyday to make them aware of Alec’s family’s worry in relation of what might happen if he was not assessed as soon as possible.

After a potential appointment was set up for early February was cancelled on the morning that it was due to take place Alec’s family was informed that a new appointment would be arranged. The court was told that Alec was extremely distraught. The next day he commited suicide.

The court was informed that Alec’s parents continue to experience post-traumatic stress disorder due to their son’s death.

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