Marie raises awareness of suicide

Ballyshannon woman Marie Gallagher who lost her husband Paul through suicide, says she wants to create greater awareness of the issue and she has embarked on a fund raising drive to raise funds for the suicide awareness charity STOP.

Ballyshannon woman Marie Gallagher who lost her husband Paul through suicide, says she wants to create greater awareness of the issue and she has embarked on a fund raising drive to raise funds for the suicide awareness charity STOP.

A major fashion and music event to raise awareness and funds for suicide prevention will take place in the Nesbitt Arms Hotel in Ardara on April 12.

The former proprietor of the Nesbitt Arms in Ardara, Marie, said that after her husband took his own life two years ago, she looked for a reason and a rationale to explain what had happened: “You’re in shock for the first year, then you look for a reason, but there isn’t one. There is no logic or rationale to it.

“Paul was the last person on earth you would expect to do it. He was really dedicated to myself and the children.”

The April event will consist of an evening of fashion and entertainment, with all proceeds going to the charity STOP (Stop, Talk, Organise and Prevent).

STOP was formed when three families bereaved by suicide came together to highlight the issue of suicide. They work towards dispelling the stigma attached to suicide and providing support to family and friends of victims.

The organisation has a helpline for anyone who is suicidal, in distress, or trying to come to terms with losing someone to suicide. They have also developed strong links with medical and mental health professionals, schools, counselling services and the wider community.

Marie says: “This can happen to anybody, at any age. Paul was 55. He never showed any signs of depression. I remember a priest in Sligo hospital saying the same thing. A friend of his who was a priest took his own life, and no-one had any idea that it was coming. Every individual case is different.

“I have heard that there are something like three suicides a day in Ireland. Often coroners can’t say for certain that suicide is the cause of death, so the official figures don’t tell the full story.

“Awareness is very important. When people speak out about it, it helps.”

Marie has received a lot of support from businesses in South Donegal, with Verve, Rosewood, Slevin’s, Zuba, McCabe’s of Ardara and Vintage Antiques having pledged their participation for the April event.

Some well-known local music and dance acts are lined up to provide the entertainment and TV3’s Noel Cunningham will act as MC.

Anyone one looking for more information on STOP’s services can visit their website www.stopsuicide.ie or call their 24-hour helpline on 071 9164286.