The manager of Pieta House in Donegal has revealed that children as young as ten have been receiving suicide and self-harm counselling at the centre.
Dominick Gallagher said that since the centre opened in Letterkenny last May, over 280 people had used their centre, and they spanned an age gap from under ten years to over 70.
Pieta House provides specialised treatment programmes for people who have suicidal ideation or who participate in self-harming behaviours.
Mr. Gallagher attended the launch last week of this year’s ‘Darkness into Light’ event in Bundoran, one of a number of such 5k events around the county which will raise funds and awareness for Pieta House.
Referring to the number of people attending Pieta House, he said, “In a way this is good news as in the past the nearest centre was Tuam or indeed Dublin and many may have not been able to travel.
“It is great that we are now able to offer them this critical service closer to home.
“To date we have been helping people from Sligo, Fermanagh, Derry and of course Donegal.
It really is very rewarding to see the change in people. When they walk in our doors many are without hope, they are just stuck in life’s journey. Leaving they are positive, full of positivity and grateful.”
Asked by the Democrat about the young children that had been users of the facility, Mr. Gallagher said, “They come from ordinary backgrounds and yes, we have treated kids as young as ten and even younger, as well as teenagers.
“It is impossible to generalise but many may have been bullied at school or on social media or come from a home where suicide has been a factor in the past. It is the sad reality of modern day living but I think it is important that people should be aware.”
Darkness into Light, a 5k walk will take place this year in numerous centres throughout the world on Saturday, May 12th at 4.15am, with walks in a host of towns in the county.
If you have been affected by this story, you can call: Samaritans 24 hr Freefone Helpline: 116123 You can also go the website: www.samaritans.org. You can also email firstname.lastname@example.org. Pieta House helpline: 1800 247 247