Estimated 30,000 take part in Pieta House run

‘We will not stop until this Government takes suicide prevention seriously’

The founder of suicide prevention agency Pieta House told around 6,000 people in Dublin this morning that they will not stop campaigning until there is a constant decrease in Irish suicide rates.

Mon, May 13, 2013, 13:01

The founder of suicide prevention agency Pieta House told around 6,000 people in Dublin this morning that they will not stop campaigning until there is a significant decrease in Irish suicide rates.

Joan Freeman addressed the crowd in Phoenix Park shortly before the start of the fifth Darkness into Light 5km run and walk, which took place in 20 locations across the country, attracting an estimated 30,000 participants, double last year’s turnout.

Ms Freeman said the every year there is a “wave of sadness”, but that she also feels “this tidal wave of incredible hope”.

“We will not stop until we see suicide reduced every year and we will not stop until this Government takes suicide prevention seriously,” she said.

“I’m absolutely overwhelmed by the huge numbers that turned out this morning all over the country. Taking part in Darkness into Light is a really special experience and we see so many of the same people coming back to do it year after year.

“There’s a massive groundswell of support for suicide prevention in this country at the moment and I’m very keen to build on this. We’re here today to show people that there is hope and I’m determined that Pieta House will play a leading role in reducing the suicide rate in Ireland. ”

While Ms Freeman led the main event in Dublin City, Niall Quinn, Bláthnaid Ní Chofaigh, Micheál Ó Muircheartaigh, Sinead Desmond, the Dublin football team and members of the Munster rugby squad took charge at events around the country.

The event follows the release of 2012 figures from Pieta House which showed a 42 per cent increase in the number of people seeking their help for suicidal thoughts and self-harming behaviour.

The charity was contacted by 2,736 clients in 2012, up from 1,923 in 2011.

A list of regional Pieta House offices can be found on their website pieta.ie.