Pieta ambassador and singer/songwriter Aaron J Hart launching Pieta’s Signs of Suicide campaign. Photo: James Crombie/INPHO

Pieta launch Signs of Suicide campaign

Know the signs of suicide.

That’s the message from Pieta, Ireland’s national suicide prevention charity, as it launched its bi-annual Signs of Suicide campaign.

The organisation said its helpline team received 99,042 calls and texts last year and delivered over 51,000 therapy hours.

It said warning signs to watch out for include:

• Sleep disturbance

• Isolation

• Giving away possessions

• No interest in anything

• Speaking of no future

Currently, 35% of Pieta’s clients are under the age of 18, while in Ireland, the overall suicide rate for males is 3 times higher than that of females, according to CSO data. This indicates that men as less likely to reach out and ask for help, Pieta said.

Pieta is encouraging people to swap the small talk for the big talk and open up to a family member, friend, or trusted confidante. Talking to loved ones about emotions is a difficult, but important, first step and can help alleviate distress before things spiral or escalate. It is essential that anyone struggling with suicidal thoughts seeks help from a trained professional.

Speaking about the Signs of Suicide campaign, Stephanie Manahan, Pieta CEO, said: “While mental health struggles aren’t confined to any one period of the year, we do know that January can be especially difficult for anyone experiencing a mental health crisis or suicidal ideation. That is why Pieta is keen to spread the word about the Signs of Suicide and to reiterate the message that it’s okay to not be okay.

“We encourage people all over Ireland to ‘swap the small talk for the big talk’ and look out for the Signs of Suicide in family members and friends. If someone you know is struggling, remember to follow the three simple steps of A.P.R - Ask, Persuade, Refer. Doing so could help save your loved one’s life.”

Aaron J Harte, Signs of Suicide ambassador, said: “I am proud to be an ambassador for Pieta’s Signs of Suicide campaign again this year. As anyone who follows me will know, I have endured my own mental health struggles. I know how hard it is for young men in particular to speak to family and friends about how they’re feeling but I also know first hand what a difference it can make.

“For me, opening up marked the beginning of my road to recovery. It is so important to talk openly and honestly about our feelings and to let those who care about us know when we need a helping hand.

“Likewise, I encourage everyone to familiarise themselves with Pieta’s Signs of Suicide.

“That way, we can look out for family and friends who may be struggling and be there for them. Know the signs, save lives.”

Pieta’s qualified counsellors specialise in suicide prevention and tackling self-harm. The charity operates centres at 20 locations across Ireland as well as a free 24/7 crisis helpline. All services are provided free of charge and no referral is needed.