As part of the USI Mental Health week, Leanne Quinn takes a look at ‘Console’ the National Charity for suicide…

At least 90% of people who die by suicide may have had a diagnosable and treatable mental illness.

Ireland has the fourth highest rate in the EU for suicide in young men aged 15-24.

The truth is that people in this country, not only young malesAre  aged 15-24, but a large population across the ages, are suffering in silence when it comes to mental health. 

When did it become popular to suffer in silence? When did it become heroic to not ‘burden’ others with our feelings? And why, considering all the wonderful services readily available to those suffering from mental health issues, do we still have incredibly high rates of suicide in this country?

These are questions that CEO and founder of Console, Paul Kelly, finds himself faced with every day. Console is a National Suicide Charity and was established in 2002 by Paul Kelly after he experienced the grief of losing his little sister to suicide.

When Paul tried to find support for his parents as they struggled to come to terms with losing their youngest daughter, Paul encountered difficulty in finding the right organisation. He found that there was a need for a service that provided support specifically to those bereaved by suicide.

Mr. Kelly began by starting up his own support line where he manned a telephone in his own house when he could to give support to others but after a time it became clear that there was a dire need to expand the service he was trying to create and 12 years on, Console is one of the largest suicide prevention, intervention and post-vention services in Ireland with counselling centres throughout the country and more recently in the UK.

The years have seen Console flourish into a National Organisation supporting people through professional counselling, support and a 24 hour helpline service.

With centres in Dublin, Kildare, Kerry, Galway, Mayo, Limerick, Wexford, Cork and London, those in suicidal crisis and those who are bereaved by suicide can attend counselling sessions with professional, accredited counsellors, specialised in bereavement counselling, complicated grief and living with the loss of a loved one.

Despite receiving some funding from the government, Console, like many other charity organisations, depend heavily on the fundraising of others throughout the year. They have seen many initiatives from climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro to this year’s National Skydiving Day where I myself, took to the skies in memory of a friend who tragically took his own life this past summer.

Advocates for the recent QPR training initiative (Question, Persuade, Refer; a method of intervention similar to the medical CPR) like Rio Ferdinand and Harry Redknapp of Queens Park Rangers (QPR) Football Club and also The Original Rudeboys who recently released their new single “Never Alone” in aid of Console, are creating much needed awareness, highlighting the support that is available and how important it is to talk.

If you or anyone you know has been affected by suicide, you can call the helpline on 1800 247 247 or visit www.console.ie to find your nearest centre.