More than 200,000 people are expected to walk from the darkness of night into the light of morning in 19 countries across five continents this Saturday morning, to help in the global fight against suicide and self-harm.
Last year in Cork 26,847 people walked from Darkness into Light (DIL) in support of the Pieta House fundraiser. With 23 locations running the initiative this year, the organisation is hoping to have more than 30,000 people out and about in Cork in the wee hours of Saturday, May 11.
Organisers Pieta House, supported by Electric Ireland since 2013, are calling on as many people as possible to join them to raise much-needed funding and awareness for the prevention of suicide and self-harm and the promotion of positive mental health.
Last year, Darkness into Light walkers raised €6 million from the event, of which €800,000 was raised across international venues.
In Cork €670,000 was raised across 21 venues and this year Pieta House Cork is hoping to bring in over €700,000.
Darran Coyle Garde, who has been working for Pieta House Cork over the past two years, said this will be his third Darkness Into Light with the organisation.
“Cork is the second busiest centre outside of Dublin. At our busiest, we see 100 people a day,” Mr Coyle Garde said.
“The age of our clients at our centre in Shanakiel, Sunday’s Well, vary from young kids to elderly.”
The Funding and Advocacy employee highlighted that the service is free to use and no referral from a GP or hospital is needed.
Worldwide close to 800,000 people die due to suicide every year - one person every 40 seconds. In Ireland, 392 people took their own lives in 2017 according to the National Office for Suicide Prevention.
2019 marks the seventh year Electric Ireland have walked alongside Pieta and the 11th year of the movement that brings hope to customers, staff and communities across Ireland that have been affected by suicide.
The funds raised from Darkness into Light help to keep Pieta centres open, offering free therapy, the 24 /7 Helpline line, education and bereavement counselling for people in need of support.
In 2018, over 8,000 clients were supported with face-to-face therapy by Pieta experts.
Since 2006, more than 40,000 people received support from Pieta House intervention and bereavement counselling services.
By the end of this school year, Pieta will have reached out to over 7,500 students with a bespoke schools’ programme called the Resilience Academy. The free programme for second-year students in secondary schools is designed to increase young people’s resilience, hope for the future, ability to cope with difficult feelings and connection to their school.
Clinical Manager, Pieta Midlands Siobhan Leijen said “It’s difficult to describe the incredibly hopeful feelings created by Darkness Into Light. As a therapist and Clinical Manager we see firsthand the indisputable need for Pieta to be present in our communities.
“Among those who walk are the people we have been so humbled to assist in their greatest time of need, their families, friends, neighbours and coworkers the list is relentless. Darkness Into Light is unity and true human compassion from one human being to another. It is hope”.
Pieta operates a free 24-hour suicide helpline on 1800 247 247.
To join the thousands of people around Ireland who are taking part in this year’s Darkness into Light 5km walk, go to www.darknessintolight.ie.