March for suicide prevention held in Dublin

‘There’s a lot of people hurting out there that are looking for help’

More than 100 people  attended the March for Suicide Prevention from the Garden of Remembrence to Leinster House on Saturday.Photograph: Eric Luke / The Irish Times

More than 100 people attended the March for Suicide Prevention from the Garden of Remembrence to Leinster House on Saturday.Photograph: Eric Luke / The Irish Times

 

More than 100 people joined a march in Dublin City Centre over the weekend calling for increased funding for mental health services.

One of the march organisers, 16-year-old Jamie Harrington said he had been prompted to get involved after two of his friends died by suicide.

Mr Harrington, who is a volunteer for TeenLine Ireland, a part-time phone service which had its funding cut earlier this year, said it was important to have a dedicated helpline for teenagers.

Among those attending the March For Suicide Prevention from the Garden of Remembrance on Saturday was Colette Doyle whose son John took his own life at the age of 27. It would have been his 30th birthday on Saturday.

She said the Government needed to “support mental health issues and get out there and help the people...it’s rampant and they’re not getting the help,” she said.

Joanne Featherstone began fundraising for Pieta House after her partner Andy Morgan took his own life three-and-a-half years ago.

Having spoken about the issue in an online video Ms Featherstone was contacted by other people affected by suicide and says many people do not know where to turn when they find themselves in distress. “Minister (for Health, James) Reilly needs to wake up and see that there’s a lot of people hurting out there that are looking for help,” she said.

Anne Ellis, who attended, said increased resources were required to provide “24-hour care in the community” adding that hospital emergency departments were not an appropriate place for those suffering with mental health problems.

Luke Clerkin (22) said this was the second in a series of protests planned by Action For Suicide Prevention Dublin to protest against cuts to mental health services.

One of the marchers, Daniel Murphy from Coolock, lost his cousin Niall Byrne to suicide in January last year. He said it was important for people who are in distress to realise that help is available.

“There are services like Pieta House, free counselling services that are willing to help and are available, and a lot of people don’t realise that. I think that’s the first step, the first building block,” he said.

Helplines:

Samaritans (samaritans.org), 1850609090

Pieta House (pieta.ie), centre for prevention of self-harm or suicide, 01 6010000;

Console (console.ie), 1800 201890 national suicide prevention and bereavement charity;

Aware (aware.ie), 1890 303302 helping people with depression and concerned family members and friends

Teenline (teenline.ie) 1800 833 634 8pm to 11pm and 4pm to 11pm on Wednesdays