Here are the professionals you'll find providing vital services at the new Northwest Pieta House, which was a triumph for many fundraisers and volunteers as it opened its doors this morning.
Pieta House has opened its first centre in the northwest in Co Donegal, which promises to be a new model of the support service.
The charity offers free-of-charge and freely accessible therapy to those experiencing suicidal ideation, those who have been bereaved by suicide and people who are engaging in self-harm.
Staff at ‘Pieta House North West’ in Letterkenny will include a centre manager (Dominick Gallagher, from Inishowen), three clinical support staff, a team of sessional therapists and a Suicide Bereavement Liaison Officer, Marian McNulty.
Last weekend saw approximately 7,000 people across Donegal (in Arranmore Island, Buncrana, Carrick, Donegal Town, Falcarragh, Letterkenny, Maghery and Tory Island) taking part in the Pieta House flagship awareness event Darkness Into Light.
In 2015, the Action for Hope group was set up to coordinate and promote awareness of the services and to co-ordinate fundraising events for Pieta House in the northwest.
The local community had campaigned for a Pieta House presence in Donegal due to the increasing numbers of people in the region dying by suicide.
“Now that Pieta House North West is opening, 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,” said Danny Devlin, the Action for Hope chairperson.
“This service is free of charge to anyone using the service and a doctor’s referral is not required.
“We would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who supported us in any way whatsoever in making the commencement of this service a reality. In order to now sustain this vital service into the future, your continued support will be greatly appreciated.”
Pieta House CEO Brian Higgins added, “Donegal and the northwest has a very real need for the services we offer and we are delighted to finally have a base here.
“We have been asked to come and to develop our services here for a number of years. We have huge support from the Action for Hope and Darkness Into Light committees.
“The growth of Pieta House has always been led by communities. People come together and say that there is an issue around suicide and self-harm in our community and we want to respond to that and we want to eradicate suicide and self-harm from this community.
“We are delighted that we’re here with the support of the people of Donegal. We need people across the northwest 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 northwest, we really can’t wait to reach a point where we can close those doors through the eradication of suicide.”
He said that the model Pieta House is bringing to the northwest is a new one as the plan is to develop outreach clinics in the region
“The centre in Letterkenny will be the hub and out of that hub will be spokes that stretch across the northwest,” he said.
“The beauty of this model is that we can go into the community, rather than asking people to come into our centre. The clinics will operate on one or two days a week in locations across Donegal and possibly Sligo and Leitrim.
“We would ask for support and patience to allow us to build up the centre in Letterkenny first and then develop the outreach from there.”
Contact Pieta House NW:
Pieta House North West, 3rd Floor, Grand Central Building, Canal Road, Letterkenny, F92EK7Y
Phone: 074 9126594
Centre Manager: Dominick Gallagher
Free 24-hour helpline: 1800 247 247
Monday to Friday: 10am to 5pm