581 UCD students will jump out of a plane at 10,000 ft as part of a charity fundraising drive for Youth Suicide Prevention Ireland (YSPI).
This charity skydive campaign is organised by UCD Students' Union, which pledged over €100,000 in funding to YSPI last November. 
 
One of the first groups to jump will head down this Saturday to the Irish Parachute Club. 
 
They will be celebrating the success of their campaign so far and the advent of YSPI’s new crisis counselling service, Free2Talk, which will be piloted in secondary schools across Ireland as a result of their fundraising.
 
Founded in 2007, the YSPI provide specialist suicide prevention information to the young people of Ireland who may be at risk of suicide or self-harm. They also provide suicide awareness information and resources to voluntary organisations, teachers, lecturers, social workers, gardai and many other people who work regularly with young people. They receive no support from the state and are completely dependent on public donations. 
 
Students’ Union organisers, Cian Byrne and David Burns, are hoping to continue until total campaign donations reach €150,000:
 
“Organising a huge student skydive in aid of youth suicide prevention did raise a few eyebrows but it also raised a lot of useful money. YSPI have been able to bring forward plans for their Free2Talk counselling service by a year as a result. Their Outreach Team will also be able to provide 150 more school visits this year. YSPI will help prevent young lives being lost using money raised by UCD skydivers."
 
“While people have questioned organising fun events for something as inherently tragic as youth suicide, it’s important to note that YSPI depend on these kind of public fundraising campaigns to continue their national schools visit programme. They receive no money from the state.
 
“Over the last year, UCD students have produced naked charity calendars, participated in campus drag shows and held nights out to get over €100,000 together for charity: ucdsu.ie/suicideprevention.
 
"We hope the public is supportive of this fundraising campaign and have set up a text2donate line so people can give directly to the charity by texting YSPI UCD to 50300 to make a €4 donation," he added.
 
Readers can text YSPI UCD to 50300 to donate €4.00 - 100% of the text cost of €4 comes to Youth Suicide Prevention Ireland across most network providers. Some providers apply VAT which means a minimum of €3.26 will come to Youth Suicide Prevention Ireland.
 
 
Photo credited to Ger Byrne