No New Funding for Suicide Prevention

Ireland's only centre for the intervention of suicide and self-harm has been inundated with demand for their services, it has emerged.

“We would urge people to organise fundraising events, big or small, to raise money for Pieta House in the run up to this important time in our calendar year”

Pieta House in Lucan provided over 1,000 counselling hours to those seeking their help in June and July  - a 60 per cent increase on the same period last year.

“We have literally been inundated with demand from individuals and their families in crisis who were seeking help this summer,” said Joan Freeman, chief executive. “Normally we experience a slight easing off in the summer months but this year there has been no let up, and, sadly again we are seeing an increasing number of children coming to us seeking help.”

The disturbing figures come in the run up to suicide Awareness week (from September 3 to 10) as Pieta House urged the public to help them raise much needed funds so they can continue their vital work. 

“We would urge people to organise fundraising events, big or small, to raise money for Pieta House in the run up to this important time in our calendar year,” said Ms Freeman. “Coffee mornings, car boot sales, pop up boutiques, cookery demonstrations, race nights, pub quizzes, we need anything at all that will gather people together to make a donation to our organisation.” 

Pieta House is a voluntary organisation that is the only one in the country providing a professional therapeutic service for communities where people have attempted suicide or who are actively contemplating the act.

Under its 2007 Outreach programme, Pieta House has two services in Finglas and Tallaght and in September it hopes to open a third in Ballyfermot.

The organisation also aims to extend its services outside Dublin later this year with the opening of Pieta House in Limerick. 

Pieta House has successfully treated almost 3,000 people since it opened its doors in 2006.  The service hired more therapists this year to cope with the demand and now employs a team of 30 at its professional centre in Lucan.

Suicide and self-harm is on the rise in Ireland with over 500 people dying every year.

Wider Funding Concerns Too

Junior Minister for Mental Health John Moloney said that there is no extra money available to tackle the high rate of suicides in Ireland.

This news came as the Samaritans launched their new campaign targeting men in their 30s-50s - the age group in which suicide is increasing most rapidly. The charity says the recession is to blame as these men are most likely the main breadwinners and therefore struggle if they lose their jobs.

Speaking at the launch of this event, Mr Moloney advised that no further funding will be made available this year following the recent announcement of almost €1m additional funding from Dormant Accounts Funding to a range of suicide prevention measures.

Meanwhile, the suicide prevention charity SOSAD (Save Our Sons and Daughers) is opening a branch in Dundalk in a bid to tackle the rise of suicides in the area and  UCD research reveals that suicides among farmers has increased by an alarming 24% over the past year.

(source: Northside People, Irish Examiner)