As Pieta House North West expands its services, it is hoped that through the eradication of suicide there may be a future where it is not needed.
Over 100 people have benefited from Pieta House NW since it opened, and that support is about to grow further. The centre in Letterkenny is introducing longer opening hours and hiring a further two therapists to meet demands.
The first Pieta House centre in the North West in Letterkenny will be officially launched today, Friday, the 29th of September.
Since opening its doors to clients on May 15th of this year, Pieta House North West has worked with 117 clients from all areas of Donegal, as well as from Tyrone, Fermanagh, Derry, Leitrim, Cavan, Monaghan and Sligo.
The uptake of the service has highlighted the real need that was present in the North West for suicide and self-harm intervention and for bereavement support services, including the Suicide Bereavement Liaison Service.
The vision of Pieta House is a world where suicide, self-harm, and stigma have been replaced by hope, self-care, and acceptance. To make this vision a reality in the North West, Pieta House CEO Brian Higgins said, “We need people to engage in the conversation around suicide and self-harm, to address the issues around the stigmas that lead people to suicidal ideation.
“That includes stigmas around body image, relationships, sexuality, identity and around colour and creed. These stigmas lead people to our doors. While we are delighted to open the doors of a service in the North West, we really can’t wait to reach a point where we can close those doors through the eradication of suicide.”
The opening of Pieta House North West was made possible largely thanks to the ‘Action for Hope’ committee, which was set up in 2015 to coordinate and promote awareness of suicide prevention services, and to co-ordinate the fundraising efforts to establish the centre.
Due to the increasing need for such a service in Donegal, the local community came together to campaign for a Pieta House presence, and since its doors opened has been hugely supportive of the centre.
‘Action for Hope’ chairperson, Danny Devlin, said, “We would appeal to everyone, young and old, to use the service if you are in crisis or need support in dealing with a family member or a loved one who has died by suicide. This service is free of charge to anyone using the service and a doctor’s referral is not required.”
Centre Manager, Dominick Gallagher, who hails from Inishowen, echoed Danny’s sentiments, saying: “We have been warmly received by the community and by other services and agencies already working in this region.
“Local media has been great since we opened, and we have tremendous support from the people of Donegal. Their enthusiasm, commitment, and generosity are why the centre has been established.”
Pieta House North West is open on Monday-Friday, from 9am-5pm. From the 2nd of October, the centre will be open until 9pm on Mondays and Wednesdays.
Pieta House North West, 3rd Floor, Grand Central Building, Canal Road, Letterkenny, F92EK7Y
Phone: 074 9126594
Free 24-hour helpline: 1800 247 247