The suicide and self-harm crisis centre Pieta House is asking people to reach out within their communities and organise a fundraising event during Suicide Awareness Week which runs from September 10-17.
In the first six months of this year there was a 40 per cent increase in the number of people attending Pieta House compared with the same period last year. In Westmeath a total of 16 people took their own lives in 2011.
Pieta House provides its services free of charge and, as 80 per cent of its funding comes from public donations, fundraising events are vital to ensure that the organisation can cope with the increasing numbers seeking help.
“We’re hoping that the fundraising events taking place around the country during Suicide Awareness Week will help increase public awareness of the unique service we provide,” said Joan Freeman, CEO and founder of Pieta House. “We’re asking people to get their family, friends, neighbours, work colleagues, or sports team together to organise an event for Pieta House during the week. We believe that mental health is a basic human right and we want to reinforce the message that communities need to embrace people who are in suicidal distress,” she said.
Last year for Suicide Awareness Week hundreds of events were organised around the country, from coffee mornings to cake sales, from sky dives to triathlons. This year, Pieta House is asking people to choose one of five activities to help raise awareness and funds. There is a menu of options available which includes a coffee morning, a BBQ, a dress-down day, a sports day, or else a unique event of your own.
“Organising an event for Suicide Awareness Week is a way to bring your family, friends, neighbours, work colleagues, or sports team together to do something positive that will make a real difference in our fight against suicide,” said Joan Freeman. “I urge everyone to get involved in some way and I hope that we’ll have as great support this year as we did last year,” she said.
Fundraising packs are available at www.pieta.ie/Pieta-House-Events-and-volunteering html.
For further information and updates check www.pieta.ie