THE people behind Darkness Into Light are urging everyone to rise at dawn tomorrow in a show of support for the annual walk, which was due to take place at that time, before the pandemic.
Saturday May 9th was the date planned for suicide charity Pieta House’s largest annual fundraiser, Darkness Into Light, supported by Electric Ireland, to take place across five continents.
It was expected that over 250,000 people would have walked against suicide and self-harm. Instead, Pieta and Electric Ireland urge the public to come together, while apart, and take part in the Sunrise Appeal – getting up at dawn to enjoy the sunrise, mark the moment and join the fight against suicide and self-harm by donating at darknessintolight.ie.
Pieta are also asking people to spread the message and offer hope by sharing their sunrise moment using the #DIL2020.
Below: Hannah Tyrell, Irish rugby international and former Pieta service user, is supporting the appeal. (Photo: Andres Poveda)
To get the nation all set for the sunrise start, Friday night’s Late Late Show is supporting Darkness Into Light too, helping to ensure that Pieta generates the attention and funds it needs to carry out its life-saving work.
Pieta’s Elaine Austin is complemented by a star-studded line-up of guests who will appear on tonight’s Late Late Show including Pierce Brosnan, U2’s Adam Clayton, Mary McAleese (who will talk about her support for Darkness Into Light) and the star of Electric Ireland’s ad ‘We’re Brighter Together’, astronaut Chris Hadfield, (pictured, below).
Elaine said: ‘We’re reminding everyone to set their alarms tomorrow morning for 5am, a lie-in for those of us that regularly do Darkness Into Light. This time instead of coming together in our communities physically we will come together around the world symbolically as we all get up and head into our front rooms, gardens or balconies to sit and have a moment while watching the sun rise.’
‘For those affected by suicide and self-harm the isolation that some of us are currently experiencing will be a familiar feeling. That’s the reason we come together on Darkness Into Light – because we don’t want anyone to be alone during times of darkness and isolation. Your donation means our counselors can continue to be there for people at their worst moments. Your participation shows solidarity and communion with those affected by suicide and self-harm. Let’s join together tomorrow and once more go together from darkness into light.’
The need for Pieta's lifesaving services is greater than ever as Covid-19 impacts not only on the nation's physical health but its mental health, too. As people find themselves worried, anxious, under strain, financially impacted and in many cases isolated and alone, the effect on mental health is significant. Recent research has also confirmed that 1 in 5 Irish people are experiencing clinically defined levels of depression. Even before Covid-19 the public need for Pieta’s services was on the increase, with calls to Pieta’s helpline up 49% year on year while text messages to Pieta had increased by 46%.
The research was conducted by Maynooth University and the Centre for Global Health at Trinity College Dublin as well as researchers in Ulster University, Edinburgh Napier University and the University of Sheffield.
Over 1,000 adult citizens of the Republic of Ireland completed the survey, which was launched on 31 March; 31 days after the first confirmed case of Covid-19 was reported in the Republic of Ireland.
Electric Ireland has supported Darkness into Light since 2013, working with Pieta to bring hope to customers, staff and communities across Ireland that have been affected by suicide.
Pieta was established in Lucan, Co Dublin, in 2006 and now has 15 centres across Ireland. Pieta offers free counselling to those suffering from suicidal ideation and to people who are engaging in self-harm. Pieta operates a Suicide Bereavement Counselling Service providing free counselling, therapy and support to individuals, couples, families and children who have been bereaved by suicide. Staff are fully qualified and provide a professional one-to-one therapeutic service. Pieta Resilience Academy is an initiative to teach school going children positive mental health techniques and strategies. The Resilience Academy is a six-week, evidence-based programme that was designed ‘with schools, for schools’. The programme aims to provide students with skills and coping mechanisms that are needed to succeed in school, and throughout their adult lives. Pieta also operates the free 24-hour suicide helpline 1800 247 247. For more information visit www.pieta.ie
Darkness Into Light is the main annual source of funding for Pieta and raised almost €6m euro last year. Darkness Into Light 2020 has been postponed because of Covid-19 resulting in a funding crisis for Pieta who now need support more than ever before. Just €20 can fund two life-saving calls to those who are in crisis. Please donate now and stand in solidarity together with all those impacted by suicide at sun rise tomorrow.
www.darknessintolight.ie @ElectricIreland @PietaHouse #DIL2020