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Mayor marks World Suicide Prevention Day

Mayor of Ennis, Frankie Neylon and Mary Lynch  of The Samaritans, lighting a  candle to mark World Suicide Prevention Day. Photograph by John KellyWORLD Suicide Prevention Day was marked in Ennis last Thursday by Mayor Frankie Neylon, who lit a candle at the Samaritans Centre on the Kilrush Road. The lighting of the candle was to symbolise the support the Samaritans offers to people during the darker times of their lives.

Councillor Neylon told The Clare Champion that he was happy that suicide has been discussed more openly, in latter years.
“It’s something that was swept under the carpet. It was a taboo subject but I’m delighted that people are discussing it now. It’s something that needs to be discussed and by bringing it into the open people will hopefully realise that there is help for them. The Samaritans are there 24/7 and there’s often help in people’s own homes if they look for it. It’s such a problem and some people don’t get help. There is help out there.”
He said that people in distress should remember the Samaritans are always available.
“There’s people on the line at all times and you can ring at any time of the day or night and it’s of great benefit to do that.”
Councillor Neylon was also attending the Clare launch of the Samaritans ‘Always There’ pin. The pin is the creation of Irish fashion designer Richard Lewis and it features two figures. The second ‘shadow’ figure reflects the mission of the Samaritans; to be there for people in crisis, offering a listening ear and confidential emotional support.
World Suicide Prevention Day is an annual event and is sponsored by the International Association for Suicide Prevention, in collaboration with the World Health Organisation.
This year its theme was Suicide Prevention across the life span and it has been adopted to emphasise the fact that suicide occurs in all age groups and suicide prevention and intervention strategies may be adapted to meet the needs of different age groups.
The Samaritans offer confidential, non-judgemental emotional support and they can be contacted 24/7 on 1850 609090 or at jo@samaritans.org. People can also call to the Ennis branch of the Samaritans on the Kilrush Road between the hours of 12 noon and 10pm.
Meanwhile, at 3am on a Saturday morning, after a night of music and matchmaking, someone willing to listen may seem an unlikely sight. In Lisdoonvarna, however, some regular visitors will be in the town square throughout the weekend offering confidential support to those going through a difficult time.
The Samaritans announced that it will offer face-to-face emotional support to people in Lisdoonvarna who need to talk about how they are feeling.
The charity will send its Irish festival volunteers to the Lisdoonvarna Matchmaking Festival this weekend.
According to the organisation, “While a majority of people attending these events will be content and have a great time, there will be some people who are going through a crisis in their lives for a variety of reasons and might benefit from being able to talk about how they are feeling.”
“People attend festivals, including the Lisdoonvarna Matchmaking Festival, to meet up with old friends, make new friends and, generally, enjoy themselves.
“For some people though, getting away for that weekend means trying to side-step personal, emotional problems, leave behind relationship or family difficulties or financial or work-related problems. For people who are going through painful personal situations, crowded places can sometimes be very lonely. 
“Samaritans offer people an opportunity to talk through the issues that are causing them distress or despair in a confidential, non-judgemental way. Samaritans listen and we are very good at it. 
“The Samaritan service in Ireland has been listening to and supporting people in distress and despair and to people who are feeling suicidal, for almost 47 years,” said Anne Corcoran, festival group co-ordinator.
“The group provides a face-to-face aspect of the Samaritan service on the street in the same confidential, caring and non-judgmental way. Making the Samaritan service available in the open allows us to reach out to people who have not yet made contact with us through telephone and email and who need our support.
“By our presence on the street, we aim to provide space and time for people to talk with our volunteers and, most particularly, if they are felling vulnerable”.
Irish festival volunteers will be located in Lisdoonvarna town square from 9pm on Friday evening through to 3am on Sunday morning.
The Samaritans Irish festival van displaying details of Samaritan telephone numbers North and South has become a familiar sight in Lisdoonvarna during the festival.

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