Former Kilkenny Hurler Tommy Walsh
Hurling legend Tommy Walsh is encouraging people to come together, but remain apart by getting up at 5.30am on Saturday morning to see the sunrise and show their support for the Darkness Into Light campaign which funds Pieta.
“I’m honoured to be an ambassador for the Darkness Into Light ‘Sunrise’ Appeal. I encourage everyone to get out of bed at 5:30am and wear yellow to show support to those struggling with their mental health. As the restrictions in Ireland continue, the role that Pieta plays in the lives of its service users is becoming increasingly more important as many people continue to feel alone and isolated in quarantine. It is vital that we support them so that they can keep their centres open and continue to provide their essential services,” said Tommy.
It was expected that over 250,000 people would come together on every continent to walk together, highlighting the fight against suicide and self-harm. Darkness Into Light, proudly supported by Electric Ireland is the main annual source of funding for Pieta. However, due to the ongoing global pandemic, COVID-19, Pieta together with Electric Ireland have had to revise how the public can support it.
Recent research revealed that 1 in 5 Irish people are suffering from depression*. And the need for Pieta's lifesaving services has never been greater as COVID-19 impacts not only on the nation's physical health but its mental health too.
Prior to the outbreak of 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 funds raised from Darkness into Light help to keep Pieta centres open, offering free therapy, the 24/7 Helpline line, and education and bereavement counselling for people in need of support. In 2018, over 8,000 clients were supported with face to face therapy by Pieta experts. Since 2006, over 40,000 people received support from intervention and bereavement counselling services.
Elaine Austin, CEO of Pieta said: “As a result of Covid-19, our helpline has seen an increase in calls from people all over the country who are in crisis right now with many others presenting with high anxiety. Funding from the public has never been more vital to keep Pieta’s door open. This will help fund our services, ensuring we can continue to support those in their darkest hours and to keep delivering our one-to-one counselling. While we are devastated that we won’t come together physically on May 9th, we will share a special moment of togetherness by getting up at 5:30am and watching the sunrise. We would also appreciate if people can wear yellow or a previous year’s t-shirt that day to show support for those impacted by suicide.”
Marguerite Sayers, Executive Director, Electric Ireland, said: “At Electric Ireland we believe that when people rally together, we can achieve anything. We have been committed to supporting Pieta through the Darkness Into Light event for the last seven years. Given the unprecedented challenges of the Covid-19 pandemic, now more than ever, we are conscious of the importance of caring for people’s mental health and the urgent need to support Pieta’s vital work. We are appealing to people all over Ireland to come together, while remaining apart, and support this urgent appeal to ensure that Pieta, who are on the frontline of suicide prevention, can continue saving lives.”
80% of Pieta funds come from the general public and these funds have been greatly impacted due to social distancing restrictions. Just €20 can fund two life-saving calls to those who are in crisis. Join the conversation online using the hashtags #DIL2020 #DILSunriseAppeal and make a life-saving donation at www.darknessintolight.ie