President Michael D Higgins hosted gala celebrations to honour the staff at Console, Ireland’s national suicide prevention charity, which celebrates its tenth anniversary this year.
Over 50 staff and volunteers from Console, many of whom have been devastated by the loss of a family member to suicide, attended the private ceremony at Aras an Uachtaráin.
The President paid tribute to Console founder and CEO Paul Kelly, who founded the organisation in 2002 following the death of his younger sister by suicide.
President Higgins said the day was about celebration. “On a personal level, I am particularly honoured to have worked closely with Console, who have been providing a vital, national suicide prevention, intervention and bereavement support service since 2002.”
Console was founded at a time when there was still no dedicated national office for suicide prevention in Ireland. Suicide was considered taboo, deemed a mortal sin by the church and a crime until 1993.
Console was founded when families still covered up the fact that a loved one had died by suicide. People devastated at the loss of a loved one through suicide had nowhere to go for help.
Since then Console has developed into a national organisation supporting people in suicidal crisis and those bereaved by suicide through professional counselling, support, and helpline services.
Paul Kelly, CEO Console said, “President Michael D Higgins recognises that suicide is a tragic reality in modern Ireland. Each day in Ireland at least one person decides to end it all. Suicide is the number one cause of death among young men aged between 15 and 24 in Ireland. The facts are impossible to ignore and suicide can be reduced by targeting the core reasons that lead people to believe there is no other way out than to end it all. We are very grateful to President Higgins for putting the issue on the national agenda”.
Console is a national service with centres in Dublin, Cork, Galway, Limerick, Athlone, Wexford, Mayo, and Kildare. Over the last 10 years, Console has developed into a professional organisation providing a 24-hour suicide prevention helpline as well as outreach prevention and support counselling services. Console also partners with health, education, and community organisations to develop initiatives to prevent suicide.
Console’s 24-hour freephone helpline is 1800 201 890. For more information log on to www.console.ie