By Siobhán Cronin
LISHEENS House, the West Cork Suicide Prevention Service, is opening a free counselling centre, six days a week, in Skibbereen.
This, according to the organisation, is another step closer to their dream of realising a free service for everyone in West Cork.
Noreen Murphy and Mick Kearns, Lisheens House organisers, announced this week that their first ‘drop-in centre’ in West Cork will open on Main Street in Skibbereen next month.
‘We had been waiting for a suitable premises in the right location, and the shop next door to Pierce Hickey’s newsagents suits our needs perfectly,’ said Mick this week.
Lisheens House will continue to operate the 023 8888888 helpline, which offers free counselling throughout all of West Cork.
‘This next step is extending the service to allow for people to call in and chat with someone face-to-face during opening hours,’ added Mick.
Because the service is free, fundraising is an important component of the work. Therefore, the store front will be run as a charity shop with a room at the back designed for a friendly chat and a coffee. A space will also be available for private counselling sessions.
‘Right now the plan is to be open six days a week, from Monday to Saturday,’ said Mick. ‘In time we will want to replicate this model throughout West Cork to offer assistance to everyone who needs it.’
Lisheens House was the brainchild of Noreen Murphy who had lost her husband to suicide some years ago.
In her experience, mental health facilities were too difficult for some people suffering from depression to navigate.
It has been her mission to ensure that as many people as possible, who need mental healthcare, can get access to it.
As a result, she has, with Mick Kearns, assembled a team of volunteers and accredited counsellors dedicated to helping Noreen achieve her goal.
Until now, all contact with the public has been through the helpline or through public fund-raising events.
The prospect of finally opening a drop-in centre is an exciting one, she said this week.
‘We are thrilled to take this next step. I’m really looking forward to opening the doors,’ she told The Star.
‘It has been the generosity and support of the people of West Cork that has enabled us to get this far, and we hope they will continue to support us on our journey to ensure that anyone in our community that needs help will be able to access it free and without delay.’
Donations of quality used items can now be dropped at the new location at Main Street, Skibbereen, or supporters can also email [email protected], or call 086 1721269, to arrange collection.