Pieta, Ireland’s leading suicide prevention service, is encouraging people in Donegal to light a candle on Tuesday to mark World Suicide Prevention Day.
Pieta is supporting the World Suicide Prevention Day Light a Candle campaign on September 10, and is encouraging people to light a candle near a window in their home at 8pm as a symbol of support for suicide prevention and in memory of loved ones lost to suicide.
Pieta CEO, Elaine Austin, stressed that the importance of taking a moment to think about how to support someone who may need help: “From rural towns and villages to major cities across Ireland, suicide impacts all communities. It is very concerning that last year we lost one person a day to suicide. The only way we can tackle this crisis is together – in our communities, in our places of work, in our schools and sports clubs. It is so important that we reach out, we are open to supporting and helping people talk about how they are feeling, and we make the services as accessible as possible. Stigma is still the biggest barrier to seeking help for mental health challenges, we at Pieta cannot stress enough the importance of not letting stigma stand in the way of seeking and getting help. We can all play a part - together we can make a positive change, we can raise the awareness of looking after your mental health, we can reduce the stigma, we can improve the level of services, we can make the difference, we can help to prevent suicide.”
The impact of our life-changing work can be felt across Ireland. Many different factors lead a person to thinking about suicide. Some of these will include humiliation, work-related stress or issues, masked depression, relationship breakdown and bereavement.
Some signs or behaviour to watch out for if you are concerned about a family member, friend, colleague, or associate: sleep disturbance, isolation, giving away possessions, lack of interest in anything and speaking of no future. When you find the most appropriate time to ask them how they are feeling and if they are considering suicide, it’s really important to take them seriously.
Pieta also provides educational programmes to raise awareness, reduce stigma and to support mental health and wellbeing via the Pieta Resilience Academy, an initiative to teach second-year students in post-primary schools positive mental health techniques and strategies. This six-week, evidence-based programme that was designed ‘with schools, for schools’. The programme aims to provide students with skills and coping mechanisms that are needed to succeed in school, and throughout their adult lives.
Leigh Kenny Clinical Regional Manager Pieta is asking people to “explore why you feel the way you feel and learn the tools to cope with how you feel. Be heard, be supported be empowered by your own strength. You would be surprised at how many people feel the same. We can all feel low, not good enough, but we are afraid to talk about it in case people think or see us as different. Making the unsayable, sayable.”
“Let's replace fear with hope, all things look different when we share. You never know who you will inspire when you reach out. Never be afraid to say to someone, are you ok? Need to talk?”
In 2018, over 220 Pieta therapists and clinical staff, working across 15 centres and 3 outreach centres nationwide, supported over 8,000 clients and handled over 16,000 calls through its 24/7 crisis helpline 1800 247 247. Pieta is hugely passionate about creating a world where suicide is replaced by hope, self-harm is replaced by self-care and stigma is replaced by acceptance.
Pieta runs a range of services nationwide to support people and communities in crisis, including free counselling services and support for those who are at the risk of suicide, engaging in self-harm and those bereaved by suicide. Pieta focuses on providing a community-based service delivering therapeutic support within a non-threatening, caring and compassionate environment. Since it was established in 2006 to provide free and accessible professional services to people who are in suicidal crisis or who are self-harming, Pieta House has worked with 48,000 people and has become one of Ireland’s leading charitable organisations.
In recognising the significance and ethos of WSPD, Pieta is also encouraging people during two weeks in October 14th – 27th to get involved in the ‘FeelGood with Pieta’ campaign. The purpose of the campaign is to support people in a fun way to get active, reach out, connect, and to do things that will help them feel better and also support the delivery of Pieta’s services. Pieta believe that coming into the darker months it is vital that people are aware of how they are feeling and be as proactive as possible to look after and improve their mindset, to build their resilience and to take the opportunity to support someone, to make the difference.
To avail of Pieta House services, which are free of charge, please visit www.pieta.ie for all centre contact details. Pieta House provides 24/7 support – if you are suicidal, self-harming or bereaved you can contact Pieta House 24/7 via the Freephone helpline on 1800 247 247, you can also text HELP to 51444 (standard message rates apply)
For further information on Pieta House and its services, visit www.pieta.ie.
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