Shane Clancy: was taking antidepressants

Shane Clancy had been taking antidepressants for one week before he carried out a murder-homicide in Bray, Co Wicklow, 14 days ago. He had told friends he "didn't like how they made him feel" but continued to take them, the Sunday Tribune understands.

No one other than Clancy knows what drove him to kill Sebastian Creane before turning the knife on himself. It is known he was jealous that the young man had begun dating his former girlfriend, Jennifer Hannigan – who he also tried to kill along with Creane's older brother Dylan before stabbing himself fatally in the back garden of the Creane family home.

An inquest into the death of the young Trinity student may provide some answers.

Depending on whether Clancy's parents have concerns over the effects the antidepressants were having on him, the debate over whether antidepressants can spur suicidal and homicidal thoughts – which has led to legal actions in the US – may be broached at the inquest, with expert witnesses called.

The Sunday Tribune visited five GPs in last week and reported feeling depressed. Four out of the five prescribed antidepressant medication, despite the fact it was a first-time visit to each surgery and no counselling had been undertaken.

Two leading psychiatrists have said they would not have prescribed me antidepressants and simple counselling would most likely have sufficed to solve the symptoms described.

"If you'd come to me with that story of being depressed over the break-up of a relationship and losing your job, I would not have prescribed antidepressants," said Patricia Casey, professor of psychiatry at the Mater Hospital and University College Dublin.

"I think we prescribe antidepressants far too easily in this country. It's not the GPs fault: they did not act improperly by prescribing you antidepressants; you fulfilled the criteria of being depressed.

"The problem is definition of depression is far too broad. When people go to their GP and say they're not eating, sleeping or are unhappy because of a broken heart, they can get antidepressants. Technically, these people meet the criteria for major depression."

Casey (above, left in picture) said some people can experience "unpleasant side-effects" from antidepressants, such as increased agitation and anxiety.

Dr Michael Corry, a psychiatrist in private practice in Dublin and founder of 'Depression Dialogues', said he would not have prescribed me with antidepressants.

"They are the new Valium. If someone has a setback and says they feel depressed, they can get these pills very easily.

"The problem is that when people take these chemicals into their body, they can often feel strange in their minds.

"I have had clients say to me that in the first three to seven days, they feel totally out of character and worse than before.

"Side-effects can be patients wanting to self-harm, commit suicide and harm others."