Last September, on World Suicide Prevention day, the first All-Ireland Skydive Challenge took place.
Over 40 participants signed up to take the leap of faith, including local Councillors Billy Ireland, Joe Malone and Andrew Mcguinness. In total, the day raised over E16,800 for an online Irish-based organisation called O la go la.
This year, organiser Liz Campbell is looking for 100 participants to take the leap of faith for suicide prevention on July 28 in Kilkenny airfield. The event is for three charities: O la go la, Pieta House and Lifeline kilkenny.
“We aim to target a substantial amount for each charity, as all three cover a different aspect of crisis intervention for suicide prevention,” says Ms Campbell.
“So far we have had alot of interest and are beginning to sign irish participants who have emigrated, meaning that this event will touch worldwide.”
Ms Campbell left Kilkenny when she was 17 to go and live, work and study in Belfast. She soon found herself in difficulty however.
“Life was far from great during this period - I was dealing with some issue from childhood, and also an abusive relationship,” she says.
“Soon after my move to Belfast, my mother died, and was also carrying the burden of some very complicated grief, without the skills needed and no realisation of any supports out there, I struggled through life, working and studying hard.”
Ms Campbell set herself a personal goal of opening her own childcare facility by the age of 25. Two days before her 25th birthday, she managed to do just that - in Kilkenny.
Now, ten years later, the business is doing well, but Ms Campbell must still cope with her condition.
“In the later years of business, I have found that my own depression and stress has been increasingly heightened due to the obvious financial climate, and also the realisation of certain trauma’s and grief that I have carried through my life,” she says.
“I believe whole heartedly that with this depression, I need to find positives and goals to focus on, and so this is why the skydive challenge was born. There is a huge stigma surrounding mental health, and I believe the only way this can be reduced is for people to step forward and step up and tell the world ‘It’s ok not to be ok’. We need to talk, talk, talk and make people aware they are not alone and there is help out there.”
Anyone wishing to get involved in the skydive event can contact Liz and her team on allirelandsky