It is the call every parent dreads; the words that tear lives apart forever; a tragedy that devastates entire families and communities. Thousands of people in Ireland have had their lives torn apart as the result of the loss of a loved one to suicide.
Christmas can be one of the hardest times for people who have been bereaved. Bereavement is the biggest price we pay for loving someone who goes before us. Almost every single one of us, at some stage in our lives will face the heartbreak that follows the death of family members and friends.
Losing someone to suicide is particularly devastating and professional help is nearly always a must for people who battle with the total emotional destruction that such a death provokes in those left behind.
Console Galway has just launched a Christmas Appeal to raise funds for suicide prevention and to provide support to devastated people who have lost loved ones to suicide. Last year Console provided professional counselling support to more than 14,000 people who had their lives torn apart as the result of losing someone to suicide.
In addition, Console runs a 24-hour Suicide Prevention Helpline, 365 days a year across Ireland called 1Life. This Freephone Helpline (1800 247 100 ) is available to anyone in crisis, 24 hours every day (see www.1life.ie for further details ).
This level of vital assistance costs millions each year, but Margaret Tierney, Project Development Manager of Console Galway says the public have always been extremely generous in making this help a reality by supporting the charity through donations and participation in fundraising events:
“Every penny raised in Galway goes to helping people in Galway. We find that despite the economic pinch everyone is feeling, they still dig deeply into their pockets to help their fellow human beings who may be desperately low.”
Ms Tierney says when people lose someone to suicide, their lives change forever. “The loss of a loved one is always devastating, but when that loss is through suicide, it leaves a trail of destruction in its wake. Families and friends are left bewildered; they feel guilt and blame for not being able to prevent this untimely death and are overwhelmed by utter rejection.
Console Galway is involved in a series of events this Christmas to begin the fundraising to continue to provide the high level of vital support to people in crisis this Christmas and in 2012.
Upcoming events include the launch of the City of Galway VEC Community Education Cookbook by Mayor Hildegarde Naughton on Thursday the December 8 at 6.30pm in the Galway City Museum. Everyone is welcome to attend. The price of the cookbook which has been donated by Mairead Thornton is €5.00 and all the proceeds of this book will go to Console in Renmore.
Meanwhile the Salthill Rotary has chosen Console as its charity for their Christmas Bucket collection which will take place on the streets of Galway on Saturday December 10 and are actively looking for volunteers on the day to give 2/ 3 hours of their time.
Galway Black Dragon Kickboxing Club is holding a collection at their two-day event on December 2-3 in The Menlo Park Hotel. Console Galway is also launching its annual Christmas appeal for donations - no matter how big or small; every euro raised will go to the counselling centre in Renmore. Donations can be posted to: CONSOLE, The Sirus Business Centre Northpoint, Tuam Road, Galway. (phone 091 384517 for more details )
Console was founded by Paul Kelly in 2002 having experienced the grief of losing a family member to suicide. The youngest child attending the Console Service is just six years of age. Some of the children have been traumatized following the death of a family member or peer to suicide. Some have engaged in acts of deliberate self-harm or attempted suicide. This is a serious development.
If you or someone you know has been bereaved by suicide and would like to make contact with Console, please contact our helpline: 1800 201890 or visit the website: www.console.ie If you are feeling suicidal, in crisis, or worried about a loved one or friend, you can ring the 24-hour 1Life suicide prevention helpline on 1800 247100.