Belfast Telegraph

Anguish as young Belfast sisters die weeks apart

Geraldine and Bridget McKay.
Geraldine and Bridget McKay.

A Belfast family have pleaded for better help for those suffering from addiction problems after two sisters died just weeks apart.

Geraldine McKay (28) was found dead in her home on Suffolk Road flat, in the west of the city, on Saturday, May 4.

The mother-of-five's death came just weeks after her sister Bridget's body was discovered in her flat in the New Lodge area in North Belfast on April 11. She was just 30 years old.

Both women had been struggling with drug and prescription drug addiction.

Speaking from the family home, Geraldine's grief-stricken sisters Kelly and Catherine told the Andersonstown News they are "drained and shocked" by the deaths.

Catherine said Geraldine's addiction to prescription drugs started after she was prescribed medication for post-natal depression.

"Your doctor gives you the first drug in Belfast," she said. "They give you the first drug. Doctors are giving people medication that they don't need and then they are being sold on. Prescription drugs cause more than what hard heavy drugs in the street are doing.

"It costs £1 for a Tramadol, one 50-milligram painkiller, that's £10 for a sheet of ten painkillers that somebody's paying for."

Kelly said that the family are angry about the lack of help given to people suffering from mental health problems.

"The family tried to help with Bridget and Geraldine," she said. "We brought Bridget to the hospital, she begged 'please do not let me go, I'm going to kill myself', she begged and cried on her hands and knees for help in the Royal. She actually threw herself out of a flat window, she really needed help.

"The words to me that day were 'well she hasn't hit rock bottom' and I remember thinking 'rock bottom' she just tried to throw herself out a window, out of a three-storey flat."

Kelly said Geraldine began to suffer from post-natal depression after she had her first daughter.

Catherine said: "Geraldine was fun, bubbly, if she had something to say she would've said it. She was full of energy, full of life. She would always have a smile on her face even if she was having the worse day of her life, and Bridget too."

Kelly described her as a "big child at heart".

The McKay family told the Andersonstown News their message to those struggling with addiction was to reach out for help.

"More needs to be done than just handing out prescription drugs to people," Kelly said.

"Everybody knows prescription drugs is a big, big problem in Ireland anyway, it's not news, you can write all the stories and whatever you want, but more needs done, action needs to be done.

"We did all we could, the family tried, the doctors turn you away and then give you a prescription for drugs."

The McKay family have already suffered tragedy with the loss of their mother Catherine.

"What has happened to Bridget and Geraldine breaks your family, it tears families apart," Kelly said.

Geraldine and Bridget's father Edward McKay said the family are "shattered" by the deaths of his two daughters just weeks apart.

"We hope that if some kid reads the story and gets help then its worth it," Mr McKay said.

If you, or anyone close to you, is affected by any issues in this article, please contact the Samaritans free on 116123 or Lifeline on 0808 808 8000.

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