AN organisation assisting with the recoveries of missing persons in Cork is urging people to seek help for suicidal thoughts during what is normally their busiest time of the year.
Cork City Missing Persons Search and Recovery member, Chris O’Donovan, said that the months of January and February usually entail the most searches for them. Nonetheless, the team hopes that this year will be different and those suffering can get the help they need.
He reminded people that this is often a difficult period, given the significant debt accumulated over the Christmas period. The Cork man added that the high cost of rent across the city and county is only adding to the mounting pressure.
“The two months after Christmas are the worst,” he said.
“The first bill is due out at the end of this month. People have done significant damage to their bank accounts. Whether this is coincidental, I don’t know but it’s fair to say that people are under pressure.
“People are under pressure and that takes its toll.”
Mr O’Donovan advised people to look out for another, particularly those suffering from mental health issues.
“There are people in Cork who go missing and nobody even knows they are missing,” he said.
“They might not be from Ireland or have anyone looking after them. Over the years we have found a number during routine searches. On a number of occasions, Caitríona Twomey from Cork Penny Dinners rang us with concern about a service user she hasn’t seen for a while. We have found four after people in that situation.”
He described the collateral damage caused by suicide as mind-blowing.
“It’s hard enough finding people who are deceased,” he said. “However, if people were to see what families have to go through all the time there would be significantly fewer lives lost. The collateral damage for the family and friends is unbelievable. The sad thing is that a person’s state of mind can often lead them to believe that this is an exercise in giving their families relief.”
Mr O’Donovan said they will often approach a person who might be in a dark place.
“If we see someone sitting at the edge of the river we will always stop the boat and ask if they are okay. Everyone’s problems are their own. Sometimes it might be a very minor issue in reality, but the mind is a very powerful thing. Our phone is on 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Even if it’s 3am, and people have work the following morning they still go out. For the volunteers, it’s about giving back.
“In many situations, they simply feel like they can’t go on or see a way out. Some are so despondent in their thinking they feel that they will be doing people a favour.”
Anyone struggling to deal with suicidal thoughts can contact Samaritans.