Sabina urges women to join conversation on suicide awareness
Sabina Higgins, wife of President Michael D Higgins, has encouraged the women of Ireland to support Console's national suicide awareness campaign and start talking about the issue.
Mrs Higgins was speaking at the Cosy Up To Console campaign which was launched yesterday in Swinford, Co Mayo, where she enjoyed a cup of tea with the Taoiseach's wife Fionnuala Kenny.
"Life is our most precious possession and privilege and death our greatest fear and dread," said Mrs Higgins.
"Console's work shines a light of hope for those who are struggling with darkness and sadness."
Console is asking mothers, grandmothers, sisters and friends to get the nation talking about issues surrounding suicide.
The campaign is the idea of psychotherapist Anne Lynch, the manager of the Console Centre in Swinford.
"We have got to get people talking about suicide and what can be done to help those who may be in crisis," said Ms Lynch. "A chat over a cuppa is a good way to start that conversation."
Ms Lynch decided to combine knitting sessions with tea and talks.
Members of women's organisations, including the Irish Countrywomen's Association, and knitting groups are also being asked to knit a Console tea cosy to support the campaign.
"The nation needs to know that Console's trained counsellors are always available 24/7 and they are only a phone call away on 1800 247 247," said Ms Lynch.
"We are asking people across the country to get chatting and knitting tea cosies over the next few months.
"The plan is to sell Console tea cosies as gifts for Christmas. Not only will they raise funds for the organisation, they will raise awareness as they will get people talking."
Mrs Kenny also added her voice to the call, saying: "I am very happy to support this initiative by Console who do fantastic work in the area of suicide prevention and support for people in distress."
Speaking at the launch, Console chief executive Paul Kelly said: "Sadly, suicide has touched the lives of too many of our people, but hope and help are always available through Console, and who better to make sure that message is heard in homes and workplaces around the country than the women of Ireland?"
Console offers counselling services and 24-hour helpline support to people in crisis and those bereaved by suicide.
The charity has full-time counselling centres in Dublin, Limerick, Cork, Wexford, Galway, Kerry, Kildare, Athlone and Mayo.
It also offers liaison services in Donegal, Sligo, Leitrim, Tipperary and Clare. Console can be reached at any time on freephone 1800 247 247.
Many resources and useful information can also be found at www.console.ie