Granard and Lanesboro welcomes participants from the Cycle Against Suicide

‘It’s OK not to feel OK; and it’s absolutely OK to ask for help’

Jessica Thompson

Reporter:

Jessica Thompson

Email:

jessica.thompson@longfordleader.ie

With the Cycle Against Suicide passing through County Longford today and tomorrow, local communities are busy preparing for the onslaught of good-willed cyclists.

The cycle was officially launched on Sunday April 23, with cyclists setting off towards Belfast.

Today (Thursday), will see the group arriving in Granard, which will be kitted out in orange to welcome cyclists from all over the country.

There are approximately 800 deaths by suicide every year, meaning this is an issue that effects local communities all over Ireland.

The 200+ cyclists will start to arrive in Granard at 5pm on Thursday evening and the local committee, students from Cnoc Mhuire Secondary School, and Lús na Gréine FRC will be on hand to welcome them to the county.

Cnoc Mhuire will host a mental health event, which will include presentations, videos, celebrity guests, entertainment and an exhibition on local health services.

The cyclists will spend the evening in Granard, before going home with various members of the community who have offered beds for the night.

Friday morning will see the people of Granard give a huge send-off to the cyclists as they head off towards Lanesboro - their next Longford stop.

On Friday April 29, Lanesboro Community College will be joining with the Cycle Against Suicide community to let people in every corner of the island of Ireland know that ‘it’s OK not to feel OK; and it’s absolutely OK to ask for help’.

As one of the designated ‘Anchor Schools’, the college will be co-hosting events, celebrity speakers and exhibitions to raise awareness of the considerable help and supports that are available for anyone battling depression, self-harm, and those at the risk of, or bereaved by suicide.

Events will commence at 11.30am with an address by the Principal, Bernice Martin.
Chaplin, Ann-Marie Keenan, will then introduce the speakers for the morning which will include Willie Hegarty from Shannonside and Ciaran Mullooly from RTE.

Adam Farrell, who was a member of Dáil na nÓg, has campaigned tirelessly for improved facilities for young people and will have some interesting things to say from the perspective of the students.

Denis Naughton TD and Eugene Murphy TD will make a guest appearance. There will be information stands around the hall from the Samaritans, Childline, Teenline, Vita House, The Attic, An Gaisce, Spun Out and Mental Health Ireland.

Volunteers from these organisations will be delighted to talk about their work and answer any questions that participants might have.

The cyclists will be arriving at approximately 1.15pm, when they will be provided with refreshments, entertainment and an opportunity to rest.

Live music and fresh food will be on offer and the school even brought in an ice-cream van for the day that's in it.

Cyclists will take to the road again at around 3pm with a contingent of students and teachers from the school escorting the Cycle Against Suicide through Lanesboro and on to their next stop.

As Anchor Schools, Lanesboro Community College and Cnoc Mhuire have worked hard to prepare for the visitors and hope it will help to bring everybody in their respective communities together in raising awareness.