ALL charities are suffering in this pandemic world, but it has been a particularly torrid few weeks for Pieta House.
Now Blarney singer-songwriter Mick Flannery is recognising its vital work — providing free support for those at risk of suicide and self-harm and those bereaved by suicide — with a charity venture.
“Pieta House does great work,” says Mick, who is currently cocooning in County Clare with his partner and her daughter. He is re-releasing a record and offering a donation of the proceeds to the charity.
“I am glad to support Pieta House during these difficult times,” says Mick.
After his online concert series in aid of Pieta House, Mick is re-releasing Mickmas EP Vol 1.
A former stonemason who grew up on a farm and is now a double platinum-selling artist, he says he had a very happy childhood growing up in Blarney.
“I miss Cork,” adds Mick, who has thrilled audiences in The Lobby, Triskel Arts Centre, The Corner House and the Half-Moon Club.
“I feel lucky I grew up there. I love going home to Blarney to visit my dad and my three brothers. My sister in America gets home often too.”
Some people who are not so lucky can suffer from mental health issues.
“I toured in the USA with a good friend of mine, Nashville native Casey Black,” says Mick.
“I met Casey in the Nashville version of The Lobby, The Bluebird Cafe, 10 years ago. He was very nice to me and we had a drink together after the show. I was a bit intimidated at first! The Bluebird Cafe is renowned. I was fortunate to get a ticket for Casey’s show. We’re friends ever since.”
“He suffered mental health issues in the past. He wrote the lead track on Mickmas, I’ve Got A Darkness. It’s about generational trauma, struggles passed down from parent to child, and advocates for self-knowledge and understanding that might break the cycle. ‘The pain you leave unfelt shall pass to someone else,’ is a line from the song that really resonated with me,” says Mick.
“Often we bottle things up and it is very obvious for instance, after losing our temper; that we could talk things out before things got worse.”
Talking helps to air problems and grievances. “That’s why the services of Pieta House are so important,” says Mick, who also auctioned off a sign he made, Darkness, that he varnished and lit up with coloured bulbs for Pieta House.
“I hope re-releasing Mickmas helps Pieta House out. And I completed varnishing my Darkness sign in the back garden ready to sell. Hopefully the donations will help people who are feeling vulnerable at this time.”
Mick casts his mind back to when he got his first chance to sing in public.
“The Lobby in Cork was where the band The Lynch Mob let me sing two songs during their gig in the break. Everybody remembers the Lobby on Monday nights,” says Mick. That night was my first-ever gig, aged 16. I was very nervous. I don’t think I can still properly play Nirvana’s Come As You Are!’”
Brian McEvoy, Fundraising Manager for Pieta House said; “Pieta is so thankful for the continued support of Mick Flannery. In these uncertain times we are continuing to support people all over Ireland who need us most.
“Without the support of people like Mick, we wouldn’t able to do this. Everything we do is done with care and compassion and our vision is a world without suicide, self-harm and stigma, replaced with hope, self-care and acceptance.”
East Cork TD Pat Buckley who lost two brothers to suicide, says Mick Flannery is making a wonderful generous gesture in the current crisis.
“Through his music, he is making a wonderful contribution to Pieta House helping them maintain their services free of charge to people who are in dire need of therapy and one-to one counselling,” says Pat.
“Mick is putting his fabulous talent to good use. It blew my mind away. In Cork, Pieta House reaches out to up to 100 people a day, In these testing times, mental health is to the fore. People are feeling emotional, angry and sad,” says Pat.