Teens lead the way in talking about suicide

Suicide is still a taboo subject in many ways, but a group of local teenagers helped to get people talking about this important subject on Saturday in advance of Monday’s World Suicide Prevention Day.

Suicide is still a taboo subject in many ways, but a group of local teenagers helped to get people talking about this important subject on Saturday in advance of Monday’s World Suicide Prevention Day.

The Ossory Youth-based Kilkenny Peer Education Guerrillas (KPEG), whose mission is to raise awareness in the areas of mental health, sexual health and drug use, brought their ideas to the fore outside City Hall on Saturday afternoon, followed by a memorial service on the Parade to remember those who have died by suicide and the bereaved families and friends they left behind.

Throughout the rest of Suicide Awareness Week, which continues until September 17, other community groups are also being asked to host events to raise money for the charity Pieta House, which works to help people at risk of suicide.

The first six months of this year saw a 40% increase in the number of people attending Pieta House compared with the same period last year, and in Kilkenny a total of 13 people took their own lives in 2011.

“We’re asking people to get their family, friends, neighbours, work colleagues or sports team together to organise an event for Pieta House during the week,” said Pieta House CEO and founder Joan Freeman. “We believe that mental health is a basic human right and we want to reinforce the message that communities need to embrace people who are in suicidal distress.”

Suggested fund-raisers include a coffee morning, a barbecue, a dress-down day or a sports day.

“Organising an event for Suicide Awareness Week is a way to bring your family, friends, neighbours, work colleagues or sports team together to do something positive that will make real difference in our fight against suicide,” Ms Freeman said. “I urge everyone to get involved in some way and I hope that we’ll have as great support this year as we did last year.”

Fund-raising packs are available at www.pieta.ie/Pieta-House-Events-and-volunteering.html. For more information, see www.pieta.ie or call 01 6282111.

For more on the Kilkenny Peer Education Guerrillas’ event, see the front of Section 2.