10 Sep 2013
PIETA HOUSE AND IFA KICK-START INITIATIVE TO TACKLE RURAL SUICIDEFarm Family
TD Helen McEntee joined Joan Freeman, founder and CEO of Pieta House, today (Tuesday, 10th September) to launch Pieta House’s Rural Suicide Intervention Initiative. It is part of Pieta House’s Mind Our Men campaign, which aims to reduce male suicide in Ireland. This new initiative will focus specifically on rural Ireland with Pieta House teaming up with the IFA, the ICA, the Department of Agriculture and Teagasc to collaborate in the fight against suicide by educating and equipping half a million men and women in rural and farming communities to Spot the Signs and save a life.
The initiative means that Pieta House will provide information booklets and training to various organisations to equip members with the knowledge of how to recognise the signs and symptoms of suicidal behaviour and what to do if a loved one is in crisis. Pieta House now has centres in Lucan, Ballyfermot, Finglas, Tallaght, Roscrea and Limerick and three more centres are due to open in Cork, Castleisland and Tuam before the end of the year. Rising numbers of suicide in rural Ireland due to isolation and farming difficulties spurred CEO Joan Freeman to target the next phase of the Mind Our Men campaign on country areas.
“There are so many factors that cause farmers and people living in rural Ireland huge stress. Isolation, loneliness, crop failure, lack of fodder and loss of animals can cause terrible distress which, in turn, is increasing the numbers of suicide in rural Ireland” said Joan Freeman. “We hope by reaching out to these areas, by teaching family and friends how to look out for their loved ones and by making them more aware of services such as Pieta House that we will help them realise that there is support out there and that they can get through these tough times” she said.
TD Helen McEntee helped launch this initiative in Kells in her own constituency today.
“’I am honoured to be launching Pieta House’s Rural Suicide Intervention Initiative which is part of the Mind Our Men campaign, which was launched last March, aiming to reduce male suicide in Ireland” said Helen McEntee. “The launch poignantly takes place on World Suicide Prevention Day and I sincerely hope that this initiative will continue to raise awareness and show people that there are many avenues of help and support networks available” she said.
The Irish Farmers’ Association have teamed up with Pieta House on this initiative. They are currently putting the final touches on an information booklet that will be distributed to all their members at in the coming weeks.
“We’re delighted to be partnering with Pieta House on this vital initiative” said Eddie Downey, Deputy President of the Irish Farmers Association. “Our members on the ground have seen first-hand the effect that suicide has had on farming communities and we saw the need for immediate action to tackle what is becoming an increasingly prevalent problem in rural Ireland. The recent fodder crisis caused huge distress for farmers and we hope that this initiative will make the farmers and their families aware of the help available and encourage them to look out for one another” he/she said.