This week is Suicide Awareness week and to mark this, voluntary group STOP (Start Telling Others Prevent) Suicide have reminded the Leitrim public of their facility in Manorhamilton which offers free counselling sessions to those currently experiencing difficulties.
Michelle Fox, Co-Ordinator of the group which is located at the Bee Park Resource Centre works round the clock to ensure that those seeking help are linked with a free counselor. Last year, 15 people in the Sligo/Leitrim area died by suicide, the second highest rate in Ireland. “We are committed to providing assistance in a number of ways”, Michelle says. “We offer solution based counselling which will often get to the very root of the problem. We then work together to find achievable goals and coping skills for the future.”
Many of those fundraising on behalf of STOP Suicide have had relatives or friends who have died by suicide and they can full appreciate the stress and grief that is associated with losing a loved one. On the first Thursday of every month at 8pm, a facilitated bereavement group for those who have been affected by loss through suicide meet at the Resource Centre in Manorhamilton. Michelle continues: “These meetings have proved invaluable to those who are coming to terms with loss. It helps to be able to talk to others who have experienced similar experiences.”
Last year, over 500 people died by suicide in Ireland. Michelle reports that many contacting their offices feel that they have nobody else to talk to. “People want to protect family and friends from their feelings of despair so they may not share with those closest to them. Sometimes it is good to talk to someone in a confidential setting on neutral ground and in a safe place where they can be open and honest about their feelings.”
Michelle urges anyone feeling low or stressed to contact their doctor, or call STOP Suicide in Manorhamilton on 071 9856070 or 086 7772009 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. She concludes: “If you know someone who is talking about taking their own life, it is most important to take the threat seriously and to take appropriate action. Many people have suicidal thoughts at some point in their lives, but nearly all suicidal people suffer from conditions that will pass with the assistance of a recovery programme.”