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tragic loss Partner of young man who took his own life calls on schools to teach kids the value of life

'From one young person to another, if you are struggling or think you just can’t keep going please ask for help'

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Perfect match: Louise is determined that Michael’s death will not become just another statistic

Perfect match: Louise is determined that Michael’s death will not become just another statistic

Perfect match: Louise is determined that Michael’s death will not become just another statistic

Michael Doherty won’t be just another statistic, says his partner Louise Boyle.

After the 23-year-old Fermanagh man took his own life last July despite showing no signs of depression or mental illness she’s calling on schools to teach kids the value of living.

Louise and Michael’s heartbroken family have spent months asking themselves why the loved, laidback farm contractor made his final tragic decision.

But Louise is determined that he won’t be forgotten. She recently organised a fundraiser for a counselling charity which aimed for £150 and raised over £11,000.

She says the people left behind deserve more support - Michael’s parents Stephen and Palmela and his siblings Ryan, Stephanie, Ronan, and Laura have been heartbroken by their loss.

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So loved up: Michael and Louise

So loved up: Michael and Louise

So loved up: Michael and Louise

But she believes better education could prevent needless deaths.

“Suicide and mental health and coping mechanisms are just as important as careers and CVs, if not more important. It should be on the curriculum,” says Louise.

“School is where you learn for your life and if you are not taught to value your life then how do you know any better.”

The 25-year-old says every day since last July she’s asked herself why Michael, her partner of five years, chose to end his life.

The pair had been living together at her family home for two years and had discussed wedding plans and his future career plans.

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Perfect match: Louise is determined that Michael’s death will not become just another statistic

Perfect match: Louise is determined that Michael’s death will not become just another statistic

Perfect match: Louise is determined that Michael’s death will not become just another statistic

He’d worked for several local farming contractors and wanted to set up his own business.

“He was fine. He’d been with his dad that day and he was joking and chatting and talking about work the next morning. He was making plans and talking about investing in a pipe system to spread slurry,” says Louise.

“He wasn’t a negative person, he never let anything get to him. He was laid back and he was always smiling no matter what.

“There were no signs.

“It makes more sense to me that someone did this to him. I know that’s not the case but that’s how out of character it was for him to do this. I can’t imagine him with that thought process.”

Louise, who works for a local insurance company, believes that Michael may not have wanted to die.

The Mullaghdun woman, whose young relative also took their own life last year, wants to let the public know that not everyone who dies by suicide is in the grip of depression or mental health issues

“I don’t think Michael thought any further than that moment. He was just stuck in that moment.

“He made a rash decision you can’t come back from.”

Michael’s funeral was a testament to his popularity when neighbours, friends and clients lined the roads to pay their respects, says Louise.

To ensure he has a legacy she started fundraising for North West STOP-Suicide Prevention, the Leitrim charity which provided help for her and Michael’s family when the NHS service fell short.

“I would have been over the moon for them to get the target of £150. To get the money we did just shows how much Michael was thought of in the community.

“I felt like we had achieved something for him. When it was over, I went very low. I felt like I’m here and Michael is not, no matter what fundraising I did.”

Counselling has helped her and Michael’s family through their grief, but it was tough.

She says greater support over a longer period would be more beneficial to the people left behind.

“For a long time, I found it hard to get out of my pyjamas. I would write to Michael and tell him what I had done during the day.

“Counselling is hard and for the rest of that evening I’d feel drained but the next day and the days after you feel like you can organise things in your head.

“With the NHS counselling you go for so many weeks and that’s that. I think for a year there should be some sort of support for the first birthday, the first Christmas, the anniversary.”

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Perfect match: Louise is determined that Michael’s death will not become just another statistic

Perfect match: Louise is determined that Michael’s death will not become just another statistic

Perfect match: Louise is determined that Michael’s death will not become just another statistic

But the most important reason for speaking out about Michael’s death is to ensure he is remembered for his life.

“He was an amazing person. He had 23 years of his life when he did amazing things and accomplished so many things and built so many relationships.

“To be just a statistic, of a young man who took his own life during the Covid pandemic, that’s not how I want him to be remembered, because he is so much more,” says Louise.

She is also reaching out to anyone who is struggling, in the hope it can prevent anyone else going through the pain that she and Michael’s family deal with every day.

“From one young person to another, if you are struggling or think you just can’t keep going please ask for help or talk to someone, or even just get into the shower do something to distract yourself from those thoughts.

“I can’t explain how hard the last few months have been so please remember the devastation that is left behind, and it is ok to not be ok.

“Our lives will never be the same again. My heart is broken, and it will never be fixed,” she says.


If you have been affected by any issues raised in this article, you can contact Samaritans helpline 116 123 or the Aware helpline 1800 80 48 48 or Pieta House on 1800 247 247.

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