Donegal residents are being encouraged to play a part in World Suicide Prevention Day through awareness and action.
The impact of suicide on all communities is being highlighted today, 10th September, as Pieta leads a ‘Light a Candle’ campaign.
People are being asked to light a candle (with caution and supervision) near a window in their home at 8:00pm this Tuesday night as a symbol of support for suicide prevention and in memory of loved ones lost to suicide.
Pieta CEO, Elaine Austin, stresses 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.
Ms Austin continued: “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 Pieta charity shared 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.
“Never be afraid to say to someone, are you ok? Need to talk?,” says Leigh Kenny, Clinical Regional Manager of Pieta. Ms Kenny 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.”
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.
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.