Pieta House’s flagship awareness walk/run, Darkness Into Light, took place in 150 locations across Ireland north and south and all over the world, with in excess of 150,000 people taking part.
People showed up in their droves at the Albert Reynolds Peace Park, Longford, and other locations across the county to take part in the event for charity.
Now in its ninth year, Darkness Into Light (DIL) – supported by Electric Ireland – started in the early hours of Saturday at 4.15am with thousands of people walking or running a 5km route while the dawn was breaking.
Since it began in one venue - the Phoenix Park in Dublin in 2009 – Darkness Into Light has grown into a global movement against suicide. Funds raised help to keep Pieta House counselling services free to those in suicidal crisis, people who engage in self-harm and those bereaved by suicide.
In Ireland, almost 500 people die by suicide each year; that’s ten deaths per week. Pieta House and Electric Ireland have asked the people of Ireland to wake up to this alarming issue.
Pieta House CEO, Brian Higgins said: “For anyone who may be suffering, who may have suicidal ideation or is engaging in self-harm, or if they feel isolated, Darkness Into Light is this phenomenal and very visible sign and gesture that your community is there to support you.
“The generosity of people who support Pieta House is incredible. It’s that whole ‘pass it on’ mentality, where people give generously for someone else’s therapy and to allow us to keep it free for everyone. None of us knows whether or when we’ll need that help or not.
“Darkness Into Light brings in about a third of our annual income and helps keep our doors open. The funds allow us to serve people better.”
This is the fifth year that Electric Ireland has been the major sponsor for Darkness into Light.
Paul Stapleton, General Manager of Electric Ireland said: “We are very proud to support Pieta House, their vital work and their important message of hope. It was heartening to see that so many people answered the call to Wake Up and walk from Darkness Into Light. Record numbers from every community all across Ireland and beyond came together for this very special event and to raise vital funds for suicide prevention, suicide bereavement and self harm. Darkness Into Light has truly become a global movement. We, at Electric Ireland, are so proud of what is being achieved. We are truly overwhelmed by the response and we would like to sincerely thank everyone for taking part.”
Darkness Into Light has gone from being a single ‘sponsored walk’ to a mass movement of people engaged in suicide prevention.
Pieta House was founded in Lucan, Co. Dublin, in 2006 and now has services right across Ireland.
Pieta House offers free counselling to those suffering from suicidal ideation, those who have been bereaved by suicide and people who are engaging in self-harm. Staff are fully qualified and provide a professional one-to-one therapeutic service.
Pieta House also operates a free 24-hour suicide helpline 1800 247 247.
29,000 people availed of Pieta House’s free counselling services since 2006.
Photos by Shelley Corcoran.