Miriam O'Callaghan, Louise Cooney and Lawson Mpame at the launch of Darkness Into Light 2021
One year on from when the country went into lockdown, Pieta’s services are in demand more than ever and they need the public’s support.
Electric Ireland is proud to support Pieta for a ninth year and together with Pieta are encouraging people to register at www.darknessintolight.ie to take part in a special Darkness into Light that can unite us all whilst still staying physically apart.
By taking part in Darkness Into Light, participants will unite in every corner of Ireland to help shine a light on suicide and self-harm while raising vital funds for Pieta’s lifesaving services.
Last year when it wasn’t possible to all walk together for Darkness into Light, Pieta faced a funding crisis, but Ireland came together as one community and got behind the event, with hundreds of thousands rising at dawn and sharing sunrise moments from across the country.
The support that shone through was nothing short of amazing with over €4 million raised following a tremendous public fundraising effort to ensure Pieta could continue to deliver their services through 2020.
In 2021, Covid-19 continues to impact not only the nations physical health but its mental health too; it has impacted everything from people’s financial stability to their social habits.
People are struggling with loneliness; a fact that is worsened with physical distance measures in place. Pieta relies on the generous support of those who participate in Darkness Into Light each year to provide this important national mental health service free of charge, 24/7.
While Covid-19 has been difficult Darkness Into Light is a chance for communities to look towards brighter days to come while sharing One Sunrise Together on Saturday, May 8.
Calls and texts to Pieta’s helpline directly relating to suicide, self-harm and suicide bereavement rose by 25% in December 2020 vs. December 2019, and Pieta is expecting the pandemic burden to have far reaching implications throughout 2021.
Pieta’s counselling services have remained available throughout lockdown with phone, video and face-to-face appointments. In 2020, Pieta delivered over 52,000 hours of therapy and answered over 70,000 calls and texts for help through their 24/7 crisis helpline.
Pieta helped 28 Longford people in 2020 and provided 387 hours of counselling across the county in 2019 and 2020.
Every single person faces challenges and Pieta worked with well-known ambassadors, including Miriam O'Callaghan, Donal Ryan and Oliver Dingley who shared Sunrise Notes, detailing how they have found light in the dark, especially over the last 12 months.
Sunrise Notes from the ambassadors are available to read at https://www.electricireland.ie/sunrise-notes
Pieta is also encouraging the nation to take pen to paper to write their own Sunrise Note and share their stories of finding hope in the darkness online using the hashtag, #DIL2021.
The concept of writing and sharing a heartfelt note will help normalise the challenges people have been facing this year, bringing people together through shared experiences of finding light in the darkness.
Speaking about this year’s Darkness into Light, Elaine Austin, Pieta CEO, said; “We have all been faced with some incredible and daunting challenges over the last year. Pieta is here to support all of those in suicidal crisis and our free counselling has continued, uninterrupted throughout the Covid lockdowns.
"Our clinical team provide services over the phone, via text and in-person in twenty centres nationwide and, since last year, we now provide free counselling over video.
"Darkness Into Light is crucial in delivering the funds needed to support this level of service. We have a great partnership with Electric Ireland and the company have been unwavering in their support over the years. We are grateful too for our Darkness into Light committees who galvanise support for the event across the country year after year.
"It’s important for all of us to hold on to hope and Darkness Into Light gives us the opportunity to come together under this one common purpose, to remember our loved ones and to help those struggling at this time, and I do hope you will all join us on May 8.”
Marguerite Sayers, Executive Director, Electric Ireland, added; “We are proud to support Pieta with Darkness Into Light for our ninth consecutive year. The partnership is incredibly important to all Electric Ireland staff and customers.
"We understand how difficult this year has been for many people, and there is an urgent need to support Pieta with their mission to help those who need it most. Electric Ireland truly believes that when the nation comes together, it has the power to bring hope to those who need it most; a true demonstration of how we’re brighter together.
"This year while we can’t physically be together for Darkness Into Light 2021, we can still come together while apart and sign up, show our support for Pieta and share a special sunrise with thousands of others around the country.”
Although there are no organised walks this year, Pieta and Electric Ireland are still urging the nation to sign up and mark this special Darkness Into Light sunrise within Covid guidelines on May 8 to show support to those impacted by suicide.
So, get involved for Darkness Into Light whether that’s writing a sunrise note, walking, running, swimming, hiking, biking or simply sharing your sunrise snap using the hashtags, #BrighterTogether, #DIL2021. Because under one sunrise, we’re brighter together. Sign up now at www.darknessintolight.ie