On Saturday, May 7, thousands of people will take part in the Kilkenny Darkness Into Light walk/jog, bringing with them, a message of hope.
The five kilometre event begins and ends at James Stephens Military Barracks and goes around the city centre.
The beneficiary is Pieta House, which runs a number of suicide and self-harm crisis centres.
It is an organisation that has been growing and growing as we, as a society, come to terms with mental illness and the impact it has on all our lives.
And in a few weeks time a new Pieta House centre will open in Waterford city, less than a half an hour's drive from Kilkenny city.
The importance of the Pieta Houses, which are attended by Kilkenny people on an ongoing basis, is that it provides a professional, face-to-face, free of charge therapeutic service for people in the acute stages of distress.
Since 2013, a total of 307 people from the Kilkenny area have been assisted directly on a one-to-one basis by Pieta House with many others receiving different types of assistance.
Last year Pieta delivered almost 50,000 hours of therapy which included Family Support. The number of clients in 2015 was 5,466.
The unique clinically-based model developed by Pieta House is used across all its centres spread around the country and on a number of third level campuses. Pieta House’s primary aim is to reduce suicide by helping people get through that critical phase when suicide becomes a plan rather than just an idea.
Darkness Into Light
“Darkness Into Light is truly unique. The sight of thousands of people in yellow t-shirts walking and running towards dawn is simply extraordinary. The event has really turned into an awareness campaign loved by Irish people everywhere. I’m encouraging everyone to get out and register, don’t let this event pass you by,” Joan Freeman, founder of Pieta House said.
Joan will be in Kilkenny for the launch of this year's event on Wednesday, March 23 in the Kilkenny Design Centre, courtesy of Kathleen Moran, with MC, Edward Hayden.
As in other years, Pieta House is asking those taking part to connect with others at the event.
Walkers/runners are encouraged to speak to the person beside them, tell a story or simply say hello, connect and acknowledge one another. Make your presence known.
Pieta House provides a professional, one-to-one therapeutic service for those who are experiencing suicidal ideation or engaging in self-harm. A doctor’s referral or psychiatric report is not required and the service is completely free of charge. Pieta House’s vision is to have a centre within 100 kilometres of everyone in Ireland and with the opening of a new house shortly in Waterford it will be even easier for Kilkenny people to get in touch. Register on-line @ dil.pieta.ie