Tallulah, aged 15

TallulahWilson 

On October 14, 2012, Tallulah Wilson (above), aged 15, died after being struck by a train in St Pancras Station, London.

After her inquest this week, Sarah Wilson, mother of the gifted young ballerina, demanded action against the “toxic digital world” of the internet. Tallulah had accrued over 18000 followers on the Tumblr site where she had posted self-harming photographs and portrayed herself as a cocaine-taking anorexic.

About a year before her tragic death, Tallulah, described at the inquest as “sensitive”, had been deeply affected by the death of her maternal grandmother.

AndrewWienerThen, early in 2012, Tallulah became physically unwell with an undiagnosed illness that her mother believed to be a chest infection. Sarah took her to her GP who thought that Tallulah’s illness might be psychological. Tallulah was referred to Dr Andrew Wiener (right) at the Tavistock and Portman Trust. Meanwhile, Tallulah’s ballet teacher, who described her as the “most able” of her group, started to notice a change in Tallulah’s outgoing personality.

In April 2012, Tallulah was sent home from St Marylebone School after cutting into her wrists in school. The school asked her not to return, and she later transferred to another school.

The following month, Tallulah had her first appointment with Dr Wiener, who told the inquest that he had diagnosed her with severe depression. At the appointment, he took the highly unusual step of prescribing antidepressants to the slightly-built 15-year-old. In the USA, antidepressants are not recommended for anybody under the age of 25. UK guidelines state that SSRIs are not licensed for prescribing to anybody under 18, as “the risks outweigh the benefits.” The exception to this, for somewhat idiosyncratic reasons, is Prozac, now marketed as Fluoxetine.

On October 1, 2012, Tallulah posted on her online blog that she was about to take an overdose of her antidepressants. An online friend rang Sarah, who found Tallulah on the bathroom floor. She was rushed to hospital, and taken home the next day after a psychiatric assessment. She did not attend a subsequent appointment with Dr Weiner as she felt tired.

Some days later, Sarah discovered Tallulah’s blog. She contacted the website and had Tallulah’s blog deleted.

On the morning of October 14, Tallulah’s grandfather drove her to her dance class in King’s Cross. She waved to him from inside the building. Shortly afterwards, Tallulah left the building and walked to St Pancras station.

MaryHassellOn the third day of the inquest into her death, coroner Mary Hassell (left) asked: “Nobody has said this was going to happen or said, ‘I thought she was about to take her life.’ Everybody was absolutely shocked. How could it be that everybody got this so wrong?”

Dr Wiener said that he believed that Tallulah’s treatment was “on track” and she had only mild depression at the time of her death. He had not considered her to be a person at risk of suicide. However, what Dr Wiener must have known but did not reveal was the warning placed in the British National Formulary, the prescribers’ official “handbook”, that: “The use of antidepressants has been linked with suicidal thoughts and behaviour. Where necessary patients should be monitored for suicidal behaviour, self-harm or hostility, particularly at the beginning of treatment or if the dose is changed.”

The overdose of antidepressants that Tallulah took two weeks before her death changed her dose in the most radical way, and placed the already-vulnerable schoolgirl at considerable risk. It is unimaginable that Dr Wiener would not have known this. Instead he chose to tell the inquest: “It’s slightly speculative, (but) when her account was deleted, I think she felt deleted. I think she felt part of her life had been stamped out.”

Coroner Mary Hassell said that she would make a Prevention of Further Deaths (PFD) report following the inquest. This was in relation to websites like Tumblr. Ms Hassell now needs to complete a second PFD, referring to the tragic consequences of prescribing mind-altering antidepressants to 15-year-old children.

TallulahWilson2

 

Related articles:

The Lost Children (2014, 2015 & 2016)

Why we shouldn’t give Prozac to children

Dana’s Human Rights – and ours

Were these children given Prozac?

Pushy Parents and Prozac

Her Lost Year

Tom, aged 14

George, aged 15

Kids in Crisis

Kesia, aged 17

Jade, aged 15

Alice, aged 17

Taylor, aged 9

Jake’s Amendment

Jake, Aged 14 (Part One & Part Two)

Jay, aged 17

Ashleigh, aged 14

Benn, aged 17

John, aged 17

Reece, aged 17

Amy, aged 14

Jay, Aged 16

Tom, aged 16

Brandon, aged 15

Sophie, aged 13

Rosemary, Ela and Joe

Josie, aged 15

Pippa, aged 15

Stephen, aged 14

Chloe, aged 17

Losing Heather

Losing Rachel

 

8 Replies to “Tallulah, aged 15”

  1. Another superbly written post. Everything, it seems, has been raised regarding this young girl’s death. What’s the betting that recommendations will be made for closer monitoring of websites/blogs and a call for the public to educated themselves on anorexia and depression. The antidepressant link with suicide will be largely ignored once again because kids have to take their medicine like all good children should – doesn’t matter is the medicine works or is safe…they still got to take it.

    • Thanks, Bob. Several national newspapers have published articles this week about the perils of the Internet. And quite rightly – parents need to be aware of the pitfalls, especially where impressionable teenagers are concerned. However, it looks like, not for the first time, Pharma and its practitioners have got away with it.

  2. God bless her, this makes me so, so sad. I was put on Prozac at a similar age, but that was 20 years ago so I’ve no idea if the risks in adolescents were known back then. Every time I read a story like this it breaks my heart. Why is Prozac still prescribed at such a young age if they know the risks with other antidepressants? This is so wrong….

    • I don’t know why Prozac has been singled out in the UK, Cheryl. I don’t even know if Prozac was prescribed in this case, just that it is the only one licensed for under-18s in this country. I would hope that most GPs would not even consider prescribing any sort of mind-bending psychiatric medication to a sensitive, slightly-built teenage girl struggling to cope with her grief.

  3. Bobbie, I agree! Excellent article! Extremely well done as always! This is how I continued to ask Rosie to post our ssristories site with all the news articles. Sadly we did not get that done before she passed away.

    Brian, I can tell you why Prozac has been singled out. It is because Eli Lilly obviously knows how and who to buy off in every situation. If you have heard the interview I did along with Dr. John Virapin as guests on a radio show in Provo, UT called “A Healthier You” with David and Fawn Christopher, it will give you insight into Prozac’s early beginnings. John was over Prozac for Lilly in Sweden and they wanted Prozac first approved there and John was to accomplish that anyway he could. So I asked John on the air how much he paid the doctor in Sweden who was in charge of the approval process for Prozac when he basically bribed the approval of Prozac. To my shock it was a measly $30,000 plus the promise of a couple of clinical trials for this man’s clinic (those would be worth far more)!

    Then in the first big court case in the US where Joseph Wesbecker killed 7 co-workers and injured about 20 more before killing himself we learned that they bought off the plaintiffs in a very creative way. They settled with them secretly in the middle of the wrongful death case brought by surviving family members and allowed it to go to the jury without the most damning evidence. This left the jury no choice but to come back with a verdict that Prozac was not the cause of the tragedy.

    Judge John Potter, who was overseeing the case, spent the next two years on his own time finding the evidence and changing the verdict from a “not guilty” to “settled” because he said he did not want his courtroom used as an advertising agency and because the truth in this case was a public safety issue. Of course, what made headline news was the verdict Lilly bought and no one ever heard on the evening news what Judge Potter found on his own.

    As it turned out, during the decade when Mitch Daniels was one of Lilly’s main executives, Lilly paid out BILLIONS in fines and secretly settled thousands of lawsuits. (See “During Mitch Daniels’ Decade at Eli Lilly, the Drug Giant Paid Billions in Fines and Settled Thousands of Lawsuits” – http://www.huffingtonpost.com/the-center-for-public-integrity/during-mitch-daniels-deca_b_859252.html) Interestingly Mitch Daniels is now president of Purdue, where a school shooting/stabbing took place right across from his office a week ago. Charged in that case is Cody Cousins, the son of a fairly high profile psychologist. Perhaps Karma is paying him a visit?

    • Thank you for your post, Ann. You do such good work yourself at http://www.drugawareness.org . It is remarkable that, in the UK, the decision to make Prozac an age-exempt exception over 10 years ago has not been overturned in the meantime. But that would need an input from the Pharma-funded MHRA …

  4. Jesus Mary and Joseph, how many more preventable children’s deaths are we going to have before somebody says STOP? Somebody needs to explain to me why Prozac is deemed to be safe in children, I really can’t understand this. How very very sad for Tallulah, RIP little one. Thank you so much for writing this and educating people.

    • I have never been able to work out why Prozac can possibly be regarded as safe, when it is only a molecule or two away from other SSRIs, like Citalopram, Seroxat and Sertraline, which are classed as unsafe.

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