In the 28 years that Gerry Roche has been a member of the Garda Siocána he has seen the fallout from many suicides and attempted suicides.
“I saw the devastation of families and the waste of life and it always bothered me that there was so little that I could do in the circumstances. This was the biggest issue affecting our society and yet there was no combined approach to tackling it, such as there had been in tackling road deaths, or drink driving or even the smoking issue,” he explains.
“We need to raise awareness of the help that is out there. We have to fight to reclaim our young people and all our people. We need to work to get young people back from the brink.”
Gerry, now a Garda Superintendent, has become part of a concerted effort to tackle the issue of suicide in the East Galway community, with the establishment of Galway East Life Support (GELS ).
GELS are hosting a public information evening on suicide prevention services in Gullane’s Hotel, Ballinasloe this Wednesday June 26 at 7.30pm. The aim of the event is to promote the services available to those affected by depression, suicide, and self-harm for sufferers, family, friends, and colleagues. It is open to anyone from the East Galway, Athlone, Midlands, and surrounding areas.
The panel of six guest speakers includes four from GELS (Galway East Life Support ): Superintendent Gerry Roche; Senator Lorraine Higgins; Frank Hunt; Donna O’Donoghue, a clinical psychiatrist with the HSE; Tom McEvoy from Pieta House; and Cllr Peter Roche from Console. They will be joined by supporters from the sporting community including Ollie Canning, Conor Hayes, Noel Treacy, John Muldoon, and Noel Mannion, as well as Fergal D’Arcy from iRadio.
Groups attending on the night include Suicide Prevention Ireland, Aware, Pieta House, Anam Cara, Samaritans, Jigsaw, Living Links, Console, Shine, SOS, Grow, GAA, The Lions Club, and IFA. Each group will be able to explain the services they offer as well as contact details.
The group has set up their online presence at www.gelifesupport.com