Dublin footballer and All-Ireland winner Paul Flynn, mental health advocate and Cavan footballer Alan O’Mara, legendary GAA commentator Micheal O Muircheartaigh and GAA Director General Paraic Duffy gathered at Croke Park to launch the new Pieta House suicide bereavement services brochure.
The event was hosted at GAA Headquarters to mark the fact that Pieta House is one of the GAA’s five official charity partners.
Chief Clinical Officer Cindy O’Connor and National Events Co-ordinator Kieran O’Brien were among the Pieta House representatives attending the launch.
For the past 11 years Pieta has provided free counselling to people who are actively suicidal and people who engage in self-harm and since last July the charity has also been providing counselling to anyone who has been bereaved by suicide. The bereavement services are available across Ireland.
“As a Pieta House ambassador I’m more than happy to help to spread the word about the vital services they offer all across Ireland. It’s important that people are made aware of the suicide bereavement services that are there for them if they need them,” said Paul Flynn.
Cavan footballer Alan O’Mara added: “I have been very open about my personal struggles with depression in recent years and I hope by opening and by helping to publicise the work that Pieta House is doing will help other men in particular to be open about their mental health and to speak to someone when they’re struggling.”
“Pieta House and the GAA are both all about community and exist because of the people who support them. We are honoured that the GAA, through the strength of their membership and their solidarity, can lend their support to our message of solidarity with people who are in crisis,” said Cindy O’Connor from Pieta House.
Pieta House also operates the free 24-hour suicide helpline 1800 247 247, which is for anyone in suicidal crisis, anyone bereaved by suicide or anyone who is deeply concerned about a loved one.
“We still really need to tackle the stigmas that bring people to the doors of Pieta House centres and we would hope that the GAA community – and the sporting community at large – can be used for good In starting to change these attitudes and stopping the stigma,” said Cindy.
“It's expected that around 160,000 people will take part in the Darkness Into Light walks across Ireland and all over the world this May. So that’s twice the capacity of Croke Park, which just goes to show the huge support for and goodwill towards Pieta House and the work that we do.”