The statistics make grim reading. Around 520 people a year in the Republic of Ireland take their own lives. The figures equate to ten deaths by suicide a week, and of those, eight are male. Joan Freeman from Pieta House in Lucan, County Dublin was the guest speaker at the Lions Clubs annual district convention at the Hodson Bay hotel near Athlone in County Roscommon. She revelaed that they were going to start up a campaign to “Mind your Males” and would be revealing more details in the near future.
Pieta House was founded by Joan, who was a practising psychologist seven years ago. Her own sister died by suicide. The group now has outreach centres in other parts of Dublin, including Tallaght and Finglas. It has also been working with Athlone and Roscommon Lions Clubs to set up a similar centre to serve the West of Ireland and has been running suicide awareness courses in Athlone.
At the moment there are no plans to extend the operation to Northern Ireland. At last year’s convention in Kilkenny, Lions heard about the work of PIPS when they were addressed by Philip McTaggart. The problems are the same on both sides of the border.
The subject was also dealt with in a very motivational speech by tv presenter and author Christy Kenneally from Cork.