Over 300 people expected to contact Pieta’s crisis helpline on Christmas Day

Pieta is encouraging the nation to choose #HopeOverSilence this Christmas as the number of people reaching out to the national suicide prevention charity this December is set to rise by 15%, exceeding 10,000 calls and texts.

It’s also expected that 324 people will reach out to the crisis helpline on Christmas Day as they struggle with their own mental health or seek help in dealing with the loss of a loved one through suicide.

Pieta is encouraging the nation to take a minute and speak up about their own mental health and/or open up about the loss of a loved one. You can support this initiative by placing a candle in your window to represent hope this Thursday November 24th at 7pm. Instead of a moment’s silence, call a friend, talk to a family member or housemate, or join in the social #HopeOverSilence conversation to help us all feel connected this Christmas.

“Christmas can be a really difficult time of year, especially if you are feeling lonely, it can put additional pressure on those already suffering with their mental health. It’s easy for negative emotions to build up inside and really drive those who are already vulnerable to suicidal thoughts, so I would highly encourage those feeling this way to reach out, ask for help, talk to a friend or a family member. That first step can be hard, but once you know you have that help and support it really does make things easier. It’s really important to drive that Hope Over Silence message and encourage conversation as we approach Christmas,” Pieta Ambassador, Louise Cooney, speaking at the launch of the #HopeOverSilence campaign, said.

There are links between perceived loneliness, suicidal ideation and self-harm and this has increased during the pandemic, with young people most likely to experience this. These young people are at a higher risk of suicidal ideation and behaviour with depression mediating this relationship. This can be seen within Pieta’s services as more than half of Pieta’s clients are now under 25. Christmas can be exceptionally lonely, and this coupled with the darkness at this time of year can really bring people down and be challenging for people struggling with mental health or bereavement. It’s important to open conversations and support those around you including friends, family, work colleagues and housemates. It’s harder to see the light in extreme darkness but the support is there and it’s important to open that conversation.

This year Pieta’s therapists have provided over 6,000 hours of bereavement therapy through the Suicide Bereavement Liaison Service. If you or anyone you know is suffering this year the service can be contacted on 1800 247 247, you can also text HELP to 51444 (standard message rates apply ). As 80% of Pieta’s funding comes from the public, support is vital to help continue this lifesaving work. Pieta runs a range of services nationwide to support people and communities in crisis, including free counselling services and support for those who are at the risk of suicide, engaging in self-harm and those bereaved by suicide. All services are provided free of charge and no referral is needed.

To donate directly to Pieta or for more support information, please visit www.pieta.ie


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