A Donegal community worker has said that suicide is now at a crisis level with the National Suicide Helpline receiving well in excess of 100 calls per day and over three people taking their lives on a daily basis.
Speaking to the Donegal Democrat Jim McLaughlin said, “The threat of suicide is all too present in society today and in rural areas like Donegal in particular.
“Over the last few years, it was particularly present in young men but regrettably in the present climate it has encompassed all age groups.
“The recession is playing a major part in this - many people have no work and worse, no hope. They are sitting at home watching daytime television, bored and very vulnerable and slipping in to inevitable depression.
“They simply do not have a reason to get up in the morning and regrettably are very reluctant to talk about it - it could be described as the silent disease.”
McLaughlin said that it was time that people took practical steps to deal with this tragic illness and through the Donegal Family Resource Centre (DFRC) has set about creating a suicide prevention initiative.
“The objective is to set up of a ‘competent helper’ project, a unique intervention service aimed at providing a listening ear. This is the first project of its kind in County Donegal and it will be delivered by a team of trained volunteers. It aims to meet immediate need, without waiting lists and referrals.
“Regrettably suicide doesn’t wait - when someone is feeling suicidal an answering machine is of little use as is an appointment with the GP or counsellor in 2 or 3 days. It is often too late.”
McLaughlin who is Chairman of the Resources Centre added, “The programme is a listening ear service which will provide people with someone to talk to, giving them the space to talk about their problems, outside of family and friends.
“Research has shown that for most people this level of support can be a vital intervention to help them get on with their lives and deal with their problems”.
He continued: “Our communities are suffering severe trauma as a result of the ongoing economic and subsequent social crisis afflicting the country. Many people are finding everyday to be a struggle and sometimes that struggle can appear to be overwhelming. This new service is being developed the DFRC to meet the ongoing needs of the community.”
The Donegal Family Resource Centre (DFRC) have organised a fund raising quiz night to raise funds for this suicide prevention initiative. The event will take place on Thursday 22nd March at 8pm in the New Community Function Room behind DFRC on Upper Main Street, Donegal Town.
At present the DFRC are developing a panel of volunteers interested in being part of this new initiative and a training programme has been devised and will commence shortly and those interested may contact 074 - 9725337 for further information.