‘We need to tackle the stigma that leads people to the doors of Pieta House’

Individually, we all need to tackle the stigma that leads people to the doors of Pieta House, Brian Higgins the CEO of Pieta House has said as Pieta House and the IFA team up today to mark World Suicide Prevention Day.

The two organisations are encouraging anyone who is feeling suicidal to get help by connecting with the support services that are available, including the Mind Our Farm Families phone line and counselling service offered by IFA and Pieta House.

The purpose of World Suicide Prevention Day 2016 is to raise awareness that suicide can be prevented. This year’s theme is ‘Connect, Communicate, Care’, three words that are at the heart of suicide prevention.

IFA President, Joe Healy said the high rate of suicide, particularly among men in rural Ireland, was the driving force behind IFA’s involvement is setting up a dedicated Mind Our Farm Families phone line and counselling service.

The phone line, 1890 130 022, puts farmers in direct contact with a Pieta House therapist who can make an appointment at one of their 18 centres, if needed.

“Suicide is preventable and it is so important that if you are feeling suicidal or you are concerned about a family member or friend that you talk to someone.

“The Mind Our Farm Families service is a solution focused one-to-one counselling service that is completely free of charge,” Joe Healy said.

Brian Higgins said that Pieta House’s vision is of a world where suicide, self-harm and stigma have been replaced by hope, self-care and acceptance.

In the last 10 years we have been brilliant at replacing suicide with hope and bringing people to self-care, but the biggest struggle for us is to replace stigma with acceptance.

“Individually, we all need to tackle the stigma that leads people to the doors of Pieta House.

“At Pieta House we have helped more than 25,000 people since 2006. We are delighted to be working with the IFA on Mind Our Farm Families.

“Suicide is something that sadly affects every community in Ireland but in rural and farming communities in particular it is vital that people know that our services are there if they need them.”

The World Health Organisation estimates that more than 800,000 people die by suicide each year – that’s one person every 40 seconds.

Up to 25 times as many again make a suicide attempt, it estimates.

The tragic ripple effect means that there are many more people who have been bereaved by suicide or have been close to someone who has tried to take his or her own life, IFA has said.

Pieta House will be at the IFA stand (block no: 2, row: 12, stand: 289) at the National Ploughing Championships taking place in Screggan, Tullamore, Co. Offaly from September 20 to 22 to provide advice and information on the services offered.